Facing a severe property slump and almost 20% unemployment, Spain is in a deep recession. As a result, the country’s banks must be in trouble. But large, listed lenders are weathering the storm remarkably well, thanks in part to strong franchises in Latin America.

Spanish banks 10-28-09

Critics argue that another reason these banks are performing well is because they are skimping on provisions for problem loans. For this reason, as banks reported their latest results—culminating today with Santander, Spain’s largest bank—as much attention was paid to entries deep in balance sheets as headline profit numbers.

A full analysis of reporting season in Spain is now up at the parent site [subscription required].