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Hocher keeps cool as Crédit Agricole CIB hots up

After years of restructuring, Crédit Agricole’s corporate and investment bank is tentatively showing the signs of stability and growth that the group’s crisis-weary shareholders have long sought. Maintaining this course may well prove just as tough.

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Four years after becoming chief executive of Crédit Agricole’s corporate and investment bank, Jean-Yves Hocher could be forgiven for expressing a quiet satisfaction at the division’s latest set of results. 

On February 19, the corporate and investment bank reported a 32% rise in annual profits to €1.03 billion for 2014 – the division’s second consecutive year of good and solid profitability and the first time it has breached the €1 billion income threshold under Hocher. 

Boosting annual revenues by 6.6% to €3.82 billion certainly helped, and that was almost entirely thanks to the performance from its financing, and capital markets and investment banking activities, which delivered revenues of €2.3 billion and €1.54 billion – up an impressive 12.5% and 9.5% respectively versus the year before. 

At the same time, CA CIB kept market risk and costs down, with value-at-risk of a low €8.9 million at the end of last year, and a cost-income ratio of 56.9%, down from 59.7% in 2013. Its return on equity, while not eye-catching, was 11% and in-line with its peers.

All in all, the numbers are encouraging, and particularly in terms of growth from financing, capital markets and investment banking. 

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