February 2016

Security, our common good

Confidence is the foundation of the relationship between a bank and its customers. And without security, confidence is not possible. This is why the decisive actions of banks to ensure the integrity of the financial system, secure transactions and protect the banking and personal data of its customers are essential.

Financial institutions are first and foremost at the front line in the fight against the financing of terrorism. French banks are fully committed and our Federation naturally supports the action plan which the European Commission has recently initiated to further improve the tracking of financial flows. We are pleased to see that this plan includes positions for which we have been in favour for a while, such as the application of the same rules governing the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities to all participants, for example virtual currency exchange platforms. Our wish: that the Commission goes as far as possible to guarantee the traceability of transactions and put an end to the anonymity of payments.
Banks, quite rightly, represent financial security in the eyes of their customers. They deal, through ever-increasing investments, with risks relating to cyber crime. It is easy to imagine, in a global and interconnected world, the consequences for all participants of a flaw in data and transaction protection systems. With the transposition of the revised Directive on payment services, we are entering an era of major technological and regulatory decisions. In its current form, this text only very partially meets the challenges facing us, both in terms of security requirements applicable to third-party payments and the protection of customers' banking IDs. The responsibilities of each participant must be clearly defined. The opening up of payment systems to new players must not come at the expense of security.
Our customers do not entrust us merely with their funds or the responsibility of accompanying them in their projects. They also share with their bank, a trusted third party, a wealth of personal information and data concerning their private lives. We owe them protection. This protection, both collective and individual, is a common good which we must relentlessly strengthen.

Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani
Chief Executive Officer of the French Banking Federation

Tweeter : Security, our common goodTweeter : Prime Time

Our positions

Some truths about bank fees
Would it not be a good idea to tell the whole truth about banking fees? For instance, that French banks well and truly play the game in terms of competition and transparency with information that is clear and accessible by all. To facilitate comparisons between banks, they have harmonised the way they present their main fees, which can be obtained easily at branches or on network websites. Indeed banking is the only sector to notify clients of any fee changes two months before they are applied. In the end, what can you say other than banking fees are competitive and they have risen at a lower rate than inflation? They represent only 0.6% of household budgets. French people spend four times less on banking than they do on their mobile phone! And clients can easily take advantage of competition. The banking profession makes it easy for clients to change their bank when they decide to do so, offering assistance that is entirely free of charge.

A practical evidence exercise on financing the economy…
It's never too late to ask the right questions. At a time when growth and employment need to be prioritised more than ever, the European Commission is asking questions about the impact of the regulations on the financing of the economy. Its "Call for evidence" in this regard is an opportunity for the French Banking Federation to provide its own evidence and in particular to formulate its proposals. Firstly with regard to evidence: yes the regulatory revolution undertaken since 2008 has led to a more secure banking system; yes the new prudential requirements which weigh on the bank's balance sheets also represent a risk for the financing of the economy. As a general rule the FBF would like to see greater coherence in the future between prudential regulations and financing of the economy. Market based funding is becoming more and more commonplace. The process is on course and this trend is inevitable. This is why we must avoid penalising European banks capital markets activities: at the same time not holding back our economies and hampering our universal banking model in international competition.

FBF and the media

Les Echos


Marie Anne Barbat Layani provides a commentary on the financial market situation

If the markets have been volatile since the start of the year, the situation cannot be compared to 2008 : "the markets are facing a number of uncertainties. The first relates to global growth. The second concerns the energy markets and raw materials and the emerging countries whose growth rates are below expectations. There is also the uncertainty with regards to the situation in Europe, notably the outlook for the British referendum. This general context creates volatility. Finally, there are a few specific factors for the banking sector, particularly the regulatory uncertainty that restricts the vision that investors have of banks”.



Interview with Frédéric Oudéa as part of an article by Investir on banking regulation

Where do we stand in terms of banking regulation ? The magazine Investir gave us an update in an article published on 29 January 2016. After an intensive phase of new regulations, Frédéric Oudéa believes that the bulk of the work has been done: "Several regulations have been rolled out over the last eight years, covering financial stability, capital and liquidity requirements, implementation of the Banking Union in the eurozone, and bank resolution mechanisms for failing banks. Over the last several months, there has been a growing sense that we have done enough to secure the international banking system". As regards the potential competition from new entrants such as telephone operators, the response is clear: "We are completely open to competition provided that the same security regulations and standards apply for everyone".

Europe 1


Frédéric Oudéa, the first guest to appear on EcoSystème, Europe 1's new economic programme

During this interview, the president of the FBF broached several different subjects, starting with the role of the bank in financing the economy: "French banks are financing the economy. Loans to businesses are increasing by 4.5% and loans to private individuals are increasing by 3.7%. For companies, for instance, this means more than €35 billion in additional loans in the space of a year". He also laid stress on employment in the banking sector and the training opportunities for young people: "The banking sector already employs a huge number of apprentices. Banking in France provides 370,000 jobs and in 2014 we recruited 35,000 people. One of the main methods of finding work with a bank is through an internship or work/study programme. We are particularly partial to this form of recruitment because it gives the person an opportunity to learn about the banking business while pursuing their studies, making it a natural means of recruitment".



G20: Meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors (Shanghai)


Hearing of François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, by the Finance Committee of the French National Assembly


Public hearing on the Green paper on retail financial services – European Commission (Brussels)


Publication « Stats.Info » loans to individuals (january 2016) – Banque de France


Banque de France / Sciences Po conference , in Paris : SRC “Monetary policy and financial (in)stability” (FBF participating)


Payforum 2016 - « GAFA, Europe : what challenges for the payments market in 2016 » / Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani speaking

Tweet of the month

Figure of the month

More than 8 out of 10 #French #SMEs #obtain short term loans

46.5% of French households had a loan in 2015 (source: Observatoire des crédits aux ménages)