Credit Agricole CEO talks consolidation in Europe’s finance sector

Jerome Grivet, deputy chief executive officer at Credit Agricole SA, expressed that consolidation in European finance is particularly beneficial for corporate and investment banks, given the absence of a unified market for retail banking services in the region.

Grivet emphasised the need for larger and more powerful banks in Europe, especially in the corporate and investment sectors. He noted that while consolidation is advantageous for these sectors, it may not be as relevant for retail banks due to the absence of a unified market for such services.

Grivet’s remarks follow French President Emmanuel Macron’s indication of openness to major French lenders being acquired by European Union rivals to encourage deeper financial integration. France hosts several prominent banks in the euro area, including Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas SA, and Societe Generale SA.

However, Grivet clarified that his comments were not directed at any specific situation. Macron’s recent remarks, in response to a query about the potential takeover of SocGen by Spain’s Banco Santander SA, highlighted the latter’s focus on retail and commercial banking, with a comparatively smaller securities unit.

In addition to the issue of banking consolidation, Grivet pointed out that European regulation has predominantly prioritised enhancing the robustness of lenders rather than their competitiveness.

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