Western Europe's best bank 2020: Crédit Agricole
Awards for Excellence 2020
While it was hard before, the Covid-19 pandemic will make it almost impossible for most European banks to earn their cost of equity any time soon.
Banks must rethink their business models even more urgently than before. At the very least, this will mean more sales of non-core businesses – particularly small-scale product-manufacturing units by mid-tier lenders.
Philippe Brassac, chief executive of the listed arm of western Europe’s best bank, Crédit Agricole, puts it this way: “Cross-border consolidation won’t be easy in Europe. There may be some domestic consolidation. But many banks have to increase their profitability and decrease their cost-to-income ratios, and often their only solution will be to cooperate much more with other banks than in the past.”
Under Brassac – and more than any other bank – Crédit Agricole and its subsidiaries have already proved attractive partners for other European banks with capital problems or product inefficiencies.
This partnership approach has advanced strongly over the last year, allowing the group to further strengthen its product factories and to boost income at a time when negative rates are crippling net interest margins in Europe.