Called for moderation by the Minister of Economy, they pledged to limit prices in 2023.
In full debate on the purchasing power of the French, the banks are starting to contribute. Invited several times to moderate prices by the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, on Tuesday they pledged to limit prices next year. The increase in commissions paid by private individuals will therefore be limited to 2% in 2023, the minister announced after a meeting with the leaders of the main French banks. Operating in a highly competitive market, each establishment will be free to apply its own pricing policy, taking this limit into account. “There was an energy shield, we are putting in place a shield on bank charges”welcomed Bruno Le Maire. “The entire banking profession has decided on a policy of strong interest rate moderation”added Laurent Mignon, chairman of the board of directors of the BPCE group (Banque Populaire, Caisse d’Epargne and Natixis) and president of the French Banking Federation (FBF).
The increase in bank charges will therefore be much lower than that of inflation (5.8% in August). However, it may ultimately be slightly higher than that seen this year. After two years of very moderate increases, bank expenses (account maintenance, cards, etc.) increased on average by 1.5% (€ 219.90) in 2022. The reasons? “We will experience an inflation of our costsexplained Laurent Mignon. Bank charges represent 0.5% of French spending on services. This is a service we provide at a low cost. “
Some were expecting a bank rate freeze in 2022, especially as banks have generally performed very well in the first half of the year after a record year in 2021. And they benefit from rising interest rates. Last week the ECB drastically raised the bank deposit rate, from 0% to 0.75%.
“We have protections that explain that we have less room for maneuver than other European banks”, explained Bruno Le Maire. And in detail: the banks grant fixed-rate real estate loans (a very protective French specificity) and therefore cannot transfer the increase in interest rates to the loans already granted. Unlike other banks of the Old Continent, whose loans are at a variable rate. The next two increases in the fee for regulated savings accounts this year (Livret A account has been profitable since 1uh Also the 2% of August and the LEP, 4.6%…) represent a significant cost for the plants.
Surcharge in Spain
In July, the BPCE group, the historic distributor of Livret A, for example, announced that the tariff increases of the placement in 2022 will cost it almost 700 million euros. The Postal Bank, for its part, stated that the impact of the increases in the remuneration of livret A would be immediate on its margins. Finally, even if their number continues to decrease, French banks still have many branches, with high operating costs. There, too, a tricolor specificity that makes it possible to limit staff reductions in the sector.
The banks have also undertaken to lower the prices of the offer dedicated to vulnerable people: they will pay their fixed price 1 euro per month, against the current 3 euro. The Federal Alliance Crédit Mutuel (which brings together 14 of the 18 Crédit Mutuel federations and the CIC) had already announced such a move, as did Société Générale.
French banks are doing much better than some of their European competitors. Spain announced in July an exceptional supplement that targets banks in particular to finance aid plans for families affected by inflation. It will apply for two years, on the profits of 2022 and 2023, and should bring to the state coffers 1.5 billion euros per year. Same approach in Hungary. And the idea also flourished in Belgium. In this period of high inflation, the government also expects price efforts from insurers, which will be received in Bercy on September 19th.
SEE ALSO – Inflation: Bruno Le Maire does not foresee a “decline” before “maybe mid 2023”