"Portuguese banks are presenting positive results, but we should not be complacent because there is still much to recover," said Horta Osório, a former head of Santander’s operation in Portugal, speaking at a conference on exports and foreign investment at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Carcavelos, in the municipality of Cascais.

Horta Osório began his address by acknowledging the improvement in the solvency ratios of Portugal’s banks, which he noted are currently "positive" and "in line with international standards". He mentioned the importance of the capital injection into state-owned Caixa General de Depósitos (CGD) in stabilising not only the bank itself but the whole system, of which CGD represents about one quarter.

He warned, however, that the "worrying" levels of non-performing loans, which reached as high as 15% of total assets, are still higher than they should be.

"Ten percent non-performing loans is still very high," he said. "The banks mostly have positive results, but there is still a lot to do and non-performing loans can improve."