The ratio of non-performing loans to total outstanding loans held by Spanish banks rose to 12.68 percent in September, the highest level since the central bank began compiling that data more than 50 years ago.
The total stock of bad loans in Spain’s financial system rose by 5.6 billion euros (some $7.6 billion) to 187.8 billion euros (roughly $253.8 billion), up from 182.2 billion euros ($246.2 billion) in September 2012, the Bank of Spain said.
The increase was due to the country’s economic situation and high unemployment, but also to stricter regulations of banks to ensure proper classification of their loan portfolios.
The ratio of defaulted loans - those overdue by at least three months - to total lending stood at 10.71 percent in September 2012.
The total loan portfolio held by all of Spain’s financial entities fell in September to 1.28 trillion euros (nearly $2 trillion), down from 1.49 trillion euros in August, the Bank of Spain said.
Nearly 800,000 home sales took place in 2007, the peak of a decade-long real estate boom that made Spain’s economy the envy of other European nations.
The bursting of the bubble combined with the 2008 global financial crisis to leave Spain mired in a deep economic crisis and struggling with a sky-high jobless rate, which stood at 25.98 percent at the end of this year’s third quarter.