December 2013 – Robust fundamentals
Our published results for the nine months to end-September – more than €3.8 billion for the Crédit Agricole group and almost €1.9 billion for Crédit Agricole S.A. – reflect good business momentum in a persistently uncertain environment despite some signs of recovery in the euro zone and France. Third quarter results were in line with the two previous quarters, driven by robust fundamentals and more particularly an improved contribution from retail banking in France, an improvement in the cost of risk and a continued reduction in expenses.
These dynamics were reflected in year-on-year growth of 0.7% in loans and 3.5% in deposits in retail banking in France, net inflows of €5.1 billion in our savings management arm since the beginning of the year, stable indicators in specialised financial services and consolidation of our competitive positions in corporate and investment banking.
The Group's risk profile has been reduced, thanks to the work we have done in the past months and the changes we have made to our business portfolio. For example, this quarter we completed the sale of CLSA and our interest in Bankinter. We are also in the process of withdrawing from Newedge and strengthening our interest in Amundi, our asset management subsidiary.
Our regulatory environment has also evolved. In France, the law on segregation and regulation of banking activities was recently passed. In the coming months, like all the main euro zone banks, we will be conducting an asset quality review coupled with stress tests, a project initiated by the European Central Bank as the first step in implementing a single supervisory mechanism in the euro zone in order to strengthen the European banking system. We are confident as to the outcome of these assessments, as we have an extremely rigorous risk management and control policy.
Within the Group, we continuously strive to strengthen our financial structure, as witnessed by the positive trend in our solvency and liquidity ratios in the third quarter. Ahead of presenting our medium-term plan on 20 March 2014, we have decided to publish our solvency trajectory under Basel III in 2014 and 2015 for both Crédit Agricole S.A. and the Crédit Agricole group. Our target is to deliver a fully loaded Common Equity Tier 1 ratio for Crédit Agricole S.A. of more than 9.5% by the end of 2015. It currently stands at 13% for the Crédit Agricole group, well above the minimum regulatory requirement under Basel III.
The Group's structure enables us to combine the target of strengthening our capital over time with a continued policy of distributing 35% of our earnings, thanks to the Regional Banks' commitment to receive their dividends in Crédit Agricole S.A. shares until we reach a minimum ratio of 9%. We hope that other shareholders will similarly express their confidence in us for 2013 and beyond by electing to receive their dividends in shares.