The value of the day in Paris – Crédit Agricole: fines of 4.8 billion euros confirmed by the ECB – 24/08/2022 10:41

(AOF) – Crédit Agricole fell by 1.1% to € 9.25, showing the largest decline in CAC 40. The green bank is penalized by bad news. The ECB confirmed sanctions totaling € 4.76 million against it and two of its subsidiaries. The central bank accuses them of classifying CET1 equity shares without prior authorization. These sanctions, imposed in 2018, were overturned by the EU court two years later, as the ECB did not adequately justify its decision.

In 2021, the central bank then published a guide on how to determine sanctions in the event of regulatory violations. A guide that allows him to confirm the sanctions.

Crédit Agricole can appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union. A spokesperson for the group, quoted by

eg echoes

, recall that “the sanction is based on a text that has not been in force since 2019”. The sanction is due to the “failure to communicate in time” of the accounting decisions taken on the occasion of capital increases carried out between 2015 and 2016, said the group, which has already set aside the amount in the financial statements.

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Key points

– Listed vehicle of the mutual group of the same name, 1st French bank and 8th world bank;

– Bank margin of € 22.7 billion, generated by retail banking at 65%, specialized financial services at 12%, wholesale banking at 14% and asset and insurance management;

– 3-point business model – relational excellence by becoming the preferred bank of individuals, entrepreneurs and institutions, local responsibility to support digitalisation and social commitment by amplifying mutual commitment;

– 55.3% capital held by regional mutual societies, hence the strong presence of their representatives on the Board of Directors (10 out of 21 members) chaired by Dominique Lefebvre, of which Philippe Brassac is CEO;

– Solid financial position – CET 1 ratio of 17%, return on equity of 11.6% and liquidity reserves of € 472 billion.

Challenges

– Investor response to the new 2025 plan, having achieved the objectives of the 2019-2022 plan one year earlier than expected;

– Innovation strategy, one of the 3 levers of the business model: internally: 90% of the Group’s entities with “data-centric” architecture in 2022, and 300 million euros in IT efficiency gains, 100% of IT employees trained on new technologies at the University of Information Systems and 100% tested emerging technologies on new business / customer services: expansion of the range of leading applications (Ma banque Pro, Pro & Entreprises LCL, etc …), offer of cash solutions digital and mobile for small / medium merchants, European e-banking offer for large retailers and full range of e-commerce;

– Enhanced environmental strategy: carbon neutrality by 2050 for its own footprint and on investment and financing portfolios / in 2022: total cessation of financing for unconventional hydrocarbon extraction projects, no mining or gas financing in the Arctic region / in 2025 : reduction to 20% in oil extraction, for all open funds actively managed by Amundi, energy rating higher than that of the competition and 20 billion euros committed to impact funds, renewable energy: doubling of the production capacity of renewable energy financed by Crédit Agricole Assurances at 10.5 GW

– 60% increase in investment banking exposure to non-carbon energies and development of the platform dedicated to hydrogen projects / 50% increase in the financing of renewable energies in France by Unifergie;

– Benefits from penetration into the Chinese (leading foreign asset management company) and Indian (cash management offer) market;

– Strengthening of mobility financing through the partnership with Stellantis, operational in 2023 and the launch of an internal entity specialized in car, rental and mobility financing.

Challenges

– Shareholders’ equity of 13.2 euros per share, compared to the stock market price;

– Russia-Ukraine war: strong impact on 1st quarter profit due to provisions on risks of the 2 countries and the termination of loans to Russian companies;

– Integration of Italian CreVal and Lyxor;

– 2021 dividend of € 1.05 (of which € 0.2 for the 2019 recovery).

The negative effects of rising interest rates

Rising interest rates usually cause bank income to increase through loans. In Europe, according to a survey conducted by S&P of 85 banking institutions, the sector expects an average increase of 18% in the interest margin. However, this new inflationary environment also has undesirable effects, notably an increase in refinancing costs. It is also accompanied by the fear of a new recession, which would then affect all the bank’s activities, from loans to asset management, whose income is correlated to market valuations. Reassuring element: euro area banks are strong enough to cope with a deteriorating environment.

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