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MADRID, March 18 (Reuters) - Spanish banks' bad debts as a percentage of total loans dipped slightly to 13.5 percent in January compared to 13.6 percent December as credit across the sector rose, in part because of changes in the way the Bank of Spain classifies lenders.
The central bank said that some financial firms, such as leasing or loan companies that give out credit but do not take deposits, no longer counted as credit institutions under rule changes from January 1 2014.
Instead, they have been categorised as receivers of loans, pushing up total credit from 1.45 trillion euros ($2 trillion) in December to 1.46 trillion euros in January, data from the Bank of Spain showed.
Without these changes, Spanish banks' bad loans ratio would have hit a fresh record of 13.8 percent in January.