French bank Credit Agricole's first quarter net profits fall - British Herald
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French bank Credit Agricole’s first quarter net profits fall

PARIS (Reuters) – French bank Credit Agricole’s first quarter net profits fell, as two one-off events offset profitability increases at its French retail bank and its corporate and investment banking arm.

“All our indicators are green and widely so,” Credit Agricole’s chief executive Philippe Brassac told reporters.

The bank managed to boost profits at its retail units in France and Italy despite persistently low interest rates thanks to aggressive commercial policies, added Brassac.

Credit Agricole’s corporate and investment arm, which focuses on bond and currency markets, was also protected from equity market’s turbulences over the period, Chief Financial Officer Jerome Grivet said.

“We had a good performance which was not the case at all corporate and investment banks,” he said.

Cross-town rival Societe Generale has stepped up the restructuring of its corporate investment banking arm as its profits have shrunk in that division, and others such as Goldman Sachs have been hit by market volatility.

In contrast, BNP Paribas – France’s largest listed bank – reported earlier this month that a rebound at its investment banking arm had driven a rise in its first quarter profits.

Credit Agricole’s first quarter net profits declined 11% to 763 million euros (662 million pounds), down from 856 million euros in the same period a year ago, when it had booked a capital gain of 86 million euros on the acquisitions of three banks in Italy.

Credit Agricole also said it had to contribute about 40 million euros more to the European fund protecting bank deposits in the first quarter of 2019 than in the same period a year ago.

Analysts polled by Infront Data for Reuters expected a 789 million euro net profit for the first quarter.

Credit Agricole is due to announce new financial targets on June 6. The bank had surpassed the goals the management had set for 2019 a year ahead of schedule.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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