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Viewpoint from Jacques-Henri Gaulard: the impact of the crisis on banks

Interview of Jacques-Henri Gaulard, Head of Banks Sector Research at Kepler Cheuvreux. 

  

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We’re confident in the French banking sector’s ability to withstand the crisis, and the market outlook is fairly good.

France’s banks are providing a huge amount of support to the economy. According to the European Banking Authority, at end September, government-backed loans and repayment holidays in France were the highest of any European Union country, at €385 billion. 

We can see that the crisis has not adversely affected asset values and over 95% of borrowers have resumed their repayments. Although profitability will take a slight hit, France’s banks are very well capitalised.

At the European level, Kepler Cheuvreux has carried out a detailed credit risk simulation and I can assure you that this risk is limited thanks to the high levels of provisions set aside by banks.

 

The crisis has accelerated the transformation process on which banks had already embarked, in particular with the rapid rise of digital technology. In my opinion, though, the more foundational longer-term challenges have to do with society and the climate. On the one hand, we need to protect jobs in an environment of technological change, and on the other, we need to transition loan portfolios towards more sustainable finance.

Crédit Agricole is ideally placed to meet these challenges: the logic of globalisation has given way to a partnership-based approach that prioritises not only shareholders but also customers, employees and the environment, in line with the Group Project.

 

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