Infotech

BPCE remains cautious despite sharply rising results



Posted 10 Feb. 2022 at 6:00 PM

Performance does not preclude caution. In a context of strong economic recovery, which is benefiting all the banks, the BPCE group had an exceptional year with revenues up 14%, to 25.7 billion euros, and net profit of 4 billion , more than double that recorded in 2020 (and +32% compared to 2019).

“We have supported all our customers in the recovery, fully playing our role in financing the economy in retail banking, wholesale banking and as a major player in savings management,” said Laurent Mignon, the chairman of the board.

No question, however, for the mutualist group, to give in to blissful optimism. This is evidenced by the amount of financial provisions made last year in the accounts: down 40% compared to 2020, they nevertheless remain 30% higher than in 2019.

Increase in outstandings

“The economic situation has obviously improved, with companies weathering the crisis well. But uncertainties remain, warns Laurent Mignon. We therefore remain voluntarily cautious in order to continue to accompany our customers serenely”. The cost of risk was 23 basis points for the year as a whole, ten points more than Societe Generale.

The dynamism of the economy, after such a special year in 2020, can be seen in the retail banking figures. The Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne networks saw their revenues jump 6% to 17.5 billion euros. Outstanding loans grew at the same pace, with an even more sustained increase for home loans, while the market broke production records in France last year.

Natixis’ businesses, fully reintegrated into the group since last year’s buyout of the shares held by minority shareholders, largely contributed to the good performance in 2021. The former subsidiary had suffered greatly from the crisis in 2020, with heavy losses, particularly in structured products, pushing the bank to reduce its risk profile.

The recovery is spectacular in the equity businesses, and revenues have almost doubled in mergers and acquisitions (M & A) activity, in a very buoyant market context (the fourth quarter alone represented half of the annual turnover in my). In total, the investment bank saw its activity jump by 34% in 2021.

Simplified organization

The good performance of the financial markets also benefited the asset management and wealth management businesses, with profits up 34% (not counting the H2O subsidiary, which is being sold to its founders).

The mutual group intends to build on this very good performance to finalize the simplification of its organization. The reintegration of Natixis’ insurance and payment activities within BPCE will be completed by the end of the first quarter. The group sold its stake in CNP Assurances at the end of last year and has just sold its shares in Coface.

“We are seeking to establish a resilient banking group model, capable of achieving sustainable performance over time,” explains Laurent Mignon. The Chairman of the BPCE Management Board likes to point out: “the vast majority of the results will be reinjected into financing the economy, accelerating the recovery and the energy transition projects of all our customers”. And even more since Natixis left the rating.

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