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Announcement:

Moody's outlook for French banks remains negative

06 Jul 2009

Paris, July 06, 2009 -- The fundamental credit outlook for the French banking system remains negative, primarily reflecting further likely deterioration of the macroeconomic environment, says Moody's Investors Service in its new Banking System Outlook on France.

Moody's negative outlook for the French banking system expresses the rating agency's view on the likely future direction of fundamental credit conditions in the industry over the next 12 to 18 months. It does not represent a projection of rating upgrades versus downgrades.

"The French banking business model, which is based on universal banking, has provided the large banking groups with a buffer against the worst effects of the financial crisis. Nonetheless, French banks have not been immune to the global crisis and the business model will need to be adapted as additional adverse developments on the financial markets are still likely (although these would probably be of a less severe nature than those seen in 2008) and, more fundamentally , as the macro-environment is deteriorating and brings with it a negative credit cycle," says Stéphane Le Priol, Moody's lead analyst for the French banking system.

In the medium-term, Moody's expects French banks to be affected by a reduction in their activity and hence in revenues. Coupled with an increase in the costs of risks, this is likely to lead to further pressure on profitability. "We anticipate more structural changes to the French banking system to take place in the coming years", adds Mr Le Priol. However, the changes are likely to be on a lesser scale than the two major examples to date: BNP Paribas's takeover of Fortis Bank and the merger between two mutualists, GCE and GBP, forming a new national champion, better capable of supporting ailing Natixis. In Moody's view, we are more likely to witness additional integration of "factories" and specialised entities, either within the groups or between groups, as evidenced by the recently announced merger of SG's and Credit Agricole's asset management subsidiaries.

The principal methodologies used in rating the French banking system are the "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies sub-directory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating the French banking system can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

The "Banking System Outlook: France" is available on www.moodys.com.

Frankfurt
Carola Schuler
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Stephane Le Priol
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's outlook for French banks remains negative
No Related Data.
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