PARIS, June 10 Retail clients of BNP Paribas are
keeping faith in France's biggest listed bank despite reports
about a looming multi-billion fine from U.S. regulators, the
head of French retail banking Marie-Claire Capobianco told BFM
Business TV on Tuesday.
BNP Paribas may have to pay a fine of about $10
billion for allegedly evading U.S. sanctions, sources have said.
U.S. authorities are probing whether BNP evaded U.S.
sanctions relating primarily to Sudan between 2002 and 2009, and
whether it stripped out identifying information from wire
transfers so they could pass through the U.S. financial system
without raising red flags.
"I am telling you eye to eye, there are no account
closures," said Marie-Claire Capobianco, a member of the group's
executive committee, asked if BNP Paribas clients are worried
after reports about possible fines the bank is facing.
BNP Paribas had French retail revenues of 1.7 billion euros
($2.31 billion) in the first quarter, accounting for 30 percent
of its total retail banking revenue.
"We see support, solidarity and sympathy on the part of our
customers," Capobianco added.
A $10 billion fine would wipe out projected 2014 earnings
and put the bank's dividend under pressure, SocGen analysts
estimated last month. The fine would also hit core equity tier
one ratio, a measure of a bank's ability to endure stress and
market shocks, to go down 100 basis points from 10.6 percent,
the analysts said.
BNP has declined to comment on any details of discussions
with U.S. authorities but has said it is in talks with U.S.
authorities about "certain U.S. dollar payments involving
countries, persons and entities that could have been subject to
The bank has set aside $1.1 billion for a fine, but told
shareholders the penalty could be far higher than that. It has
also said it has improved control processes to ensure such
mistakes do not occur again.
Capobianco added that it was important to keep BNP Paribas
employees confident in the bank as well.
"We need to talk to them: look what our customers are
saying, look at the soundness of the bank, which is the first
"When you live through difficult times, you come out
stronger after that".
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Andrew Callus)