Aug. 2 - France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas exceeded expectations but profits were still down more than 13 percent as the bank tries to weather the euro zone storm. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Huge cutbacks are the key to BNP Paribas hitting targets in the second quarter. Profits were better than expected at France's biggest bank, although there was a sharp fall. Net income dropped 13.2 percent to 1.85 billion euros, but average forecasts estimated 1.74 billion. Jean-Laurent Bonnafe is the CEO. He says the new business model as helped the bank buck the trend. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEAN-LAURENT BONNAFE, CEO, BNP PARIBAS, SAYING: "We count very much on the resilience of domestic markets, personal finance, and on top of that, investment solutions, especially security services and the insurance business." The bank's undertaken a round of job and spending cuts to shelter it from future crises. More than half its credit risk exposure is in the euro zone. It wants to set a ceiling of 10 billion euros per country for its sovereign debt holdings. And Bonnafe is confident Europe's politicians will pull the euro zone back from the brink: (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEAN-LAURENT BONNAFE, CEO, BNP PARIBAS, SAYING: "Last week Mario Draghi sent a very strong message. if you are looking at the new plan by Spanish authorities, this is a new programme, a new way to handle the situation. The international monetary fund would say that this approach is relevent so this is positive. And if you look at Italy, Mario Monti is doing a great job in implementing reforms." BNP fared better than its rival Societe Generale, which like several other European banks this week have reported a very gloomy set of figures. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters