Home About FBF Overview Interview with Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, Chief Executive Officer of the FBF, in l'Opinion  


29 march 2017

Interview with Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, Chief Executive Officer of the FBF, in l'Opinion

Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani gave an overview of the French banking sector and explained the key challenges facing banks.


Last year, French banks achieved their highest levels of profitability since the 2008 crisis, but the issue of their profitability remains critical. "It we want to stay in the global race with large companies financed by banks whose decision-making centres are in France and Europe, we need to ensure our banks are healthy."

Four of Europe's top nine banks are French.

French banks finance over 40% of the European economy!

France also stands out for its lending: outstanding loans to businesses are rising by 5% per year in France, compared with just 2% for the euro zone as a whole.

One of the challenges facing the sector in the years ahead is the digital transition. As digital players, banks are natural leaders in this ecosystem. Digital is creating a competitive environment that is reinventing local banking relationships. The future lies in banking "at the end of our fingertips", but all our surveys show that customer advisors remain important.

Digitisation poses challenges in terms of employee training, investments and security. "The main asset in the relationship between a bank and its customers is trust, which is based on the security of their funds and their personal data."

Fair competition is another challenge. "We are in an extremely regulated sector. If new players can carry out the same activities as banks without having the same constraints in terms of capital, organisation, security, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist ?nancing procedures, this poses a major problem."

The Basel Committee is still finalising its work. It is important to reiterate that the G20 emphasised that the new Basel regulations should not significantly increase capital requirements or distort competition. But the initial conclusions announced last June would have exactly the opposite effect in Europe, with major increases for European banks. This would be unacceptable for Europeans, and they have said so quite clearly.

"French banks are in favour of a fair balance between regulation and financing the economy."

"The question of who will finance the European economy in the years to come is a real concern." US corporate and investment banks (CIB) are gaining market share in Europe. This is also important.

Brexit is another key issue. It is not a challenge for banks, but it is for the Paris marketplace, the government and local authorities, who have a lot to gain in terms of employment, growth and tax revenue. "It is a fight for competitiveness, in which we need to avoid giving out contradictory messages."

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