Lies, Damn Lies And Nonperforming Loan Levels

Things are getting better in Spain. Just perhaps not as fast as certain numbers might have you thinking.

After a vicious real-estate bust and a deep recession, Spanish banks’ nonperforming loans—cases in which borrowers have fallen behind or defaulted on payments—have edged down to 13.4% of total loans as of April from a record-high 13.6% in December, according to Spain’s central bank.

But some analysts say investors should be looking at the banks’ nonperforming assets, a broader metric that includes repossessed real-estate assets and some restructured loans, including those transferred to Spain’s “bad bank” entity….

“It seems we are close to (or even past) the peak of officially reported nonperforming loan figures, but not everything that glitters is gold,” Mr. López Díaz wrote recently. “Reported nonperforming loans clearly understate the order of magnitude of the credit-quality disaster.”

Spanish Bad-Debt Data Tell Divergent Stories [WSJ]

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