The Strategist

BNP Paribas to invest € 3 billion in digital technology

02/07/2017 - 14:24

CEO of BNP Paribas Jean-Laurent Bonnafé told in an interview with the Financial Times that the French bank intends to "transform its business" in the next three years. The largest in terms of assets bank is going to add 50% of investment in digital projects. According to Mr. Bonnafé, BNP Paribas will be investing € 3 billion in digital technology during this period. "A growing of our customers want to conduct transactions online rather than face to face," - he explained. Of the € 3 billion that the bank will invest in digitalization, part of the funds will be spent on retraining existing staff and hiring new people, for example, specialists in data analysis.

At the same time, this program will cut costs significantly due to closure of the bank's branches and downsizing. In the period from 2012 to 2016, BNP has closed about 10% of branches in France. Now, its investment arm is laying off 2% of 30 thousand employees. According to the bank’s Head, he sees no reason to change this trend over the next three years. According to his estimates, this will reduce the cost to income ratio from 66.8% to 63%. In addition, he believes that not only will transition to digital technology improve services offered to customers, but also will increase dividend payout ratio from 45% to 50% by the end of the three-year period. The organization expects to save € 3,4 Bln thanks to cost reduction due to the new program.

Earlier, BNP Paribas announced plans to increase dividend payments and return on equity by 2020 in a hope that the negative factors, such as low interest rates and regulatory pressure, will expire by the time.

France's biggest bank revealed some details of its plan for 2017-2020 years in a report. The paper show that BNP Paribas did not meet expectations of growth in net profit in the fourth quarter, which has been adversely affected by goodwill impairment of the bank’s Polish division BGZ.

Net profit of BNP Paribas in the fourth quarter rose to 1.44 billion euro ($ 1.5 billion), which is an increase of more than double from 665 million euros a year earlier. However, the number is still below average expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who forecasted around 1.50 billion.

The group’s revenue increased by 2 percent to 10.66 billion euro, exceeding average value of the forecast of 10.48 billion, as a surge in trading activity contributed to revenue growth in segments of banking services to corporate and institutional customers by 8 percent. BNP Paribas’s quarterly results have been published on the bank's website.