Commercial banks posted a 12% drop in net profit to €494m during the first three quarters of this year. The drop stems from low interest rates on mortgages, falling profits from securities trading, and the base effect (last year, banks have booked over €100m profit from the sale of their shares in Visa Europe). On the other hand, banks managed to cut operating costs, and reduced reserve creation. Their loan books swelled 11% under an annual comparison, mainly thanks to retail loans. The interest rates on new consumer credit, though, are 1.51 of a point lower annually, at 8.7%, and rates on housing loans are 0.12 of a point lower, at 1.83%. The share of non-performing loans fell to 4%.