NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -02/01/12)- Eurozone banking stocks performed well last month as financial firms tapped European Central Bank (ECB) emergency funding. According to a report from The Financial Times, several of the largest Eurozone banks may double or even triple their request for funds at the ECB's three-year money auction on Feb. 29. Banks borrowed EUR 489B in the emergency funding scheme's debut auction in December, the Financial Times reports. Five Star Equities examines investing opportunities in the Foreign Banking Industry and provides equity research on National Bank of Greece SA (NYSE: NBG - News) and Banco Santander SA (NYSE: STD - News) (LSE: BNC.L - News). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Euro-zone bank lending growth slowed dramatically in December, "a sign that economic activity will remain subdued and inflation depressed in the region, opening up room for further rate cuts." Data from the European Central Bank showed that loans to the private sector grew at a 1% annual rate in December, down from 1.7% in November and 2.7% in October. Economists had forecast growth of 2.1%, MarketWatch reports.
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Earlier this week Banco Santander announced that its fourth-quarter net profit collapsed 98% after the Spanish banking giant took a EUR 1.81 billion ($2.39 billion) charge on its Spanish real estate holdings and wrote down goodwill on its Portuguese unit by EUR 600 million. In 2011, Santander grew lending by 4%, as growing demand for credit in Latin America offset a shrinking loan book in Europe. Net lending in Spain fell by 7%, the bank said, while it grew by 8% outside Spain.
The growing importance of Latin America was evident in the Santander's loan book during 2011, The Associated Press reports.
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