October 2017

"Europe is back"

Europe is back. Politically, artistically, economically, old Europe is rising from the ashes and buzzing with new projects. France is leading the charge: the country's voice is once more being heard and not before time. Our partners are looking at us in a new way and we, the French, have determinedly shrugged off the deep depression in which we had wallowed for too long. France is back. Europe is back.

Of course, one swallow does not make a summer. We still have to deliver on our promise, particularly in the economic arena.
Banking has a role to play here. The lesson of Brexit is that we need to be masters of our own destiny when it comes to finance: London can no longer be the financial heart of a post-Brexit Europe. This is timely: Europe has an imperative need to develop its capital markets. We cannot continue stacking up credit on bank balance sheets, which currently account for around 75% of the financing for Europe's economy compared to just 30% in the United States. We need not go that far, but we must create more space for market finance as banking regulation is increasingly tightening the squeeze on banks' balance sheets.
Have banks got a problem? Far from it: an opportunity! Particularly for the French industry which is the continental leader in corporate and investment banking.
If France engages with this question, it could become one of the big federative projects for the Europe of tomorrow and a fantastic opportunity to develop one of its areas of excellence: banking.
This is a strategic project, dealing with the independence of our sources of finance.
The implications are many, for regulation, politics and other areas. European institutions, including the ECB, must live up to their historic responsibilities....if we fail to do this, we will be handing over the keys of the European economy to outside interests (money, it has been said, is the mainspring of war).
Not to mention the opportunity loss: there is massive potential for development and jobs in a "Europe of finance". This is the real Brexit challenge, going well beyond the issue of the few hundreds or even thousands of jobs which may transfer across to Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin or Amsterdam. If Europe can get this right - and it really should - then the potential for development is of another dimension. Are we up for it?

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

Tweeter : @FBFFranceTweeter : @FBFFrance

Our Positions

Banks and FinTechs: relationships for the long term
Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani presented the 2017 RB Innovation prize, the third year it has been awarded, on 20 September 2017, to Ditto Bank. Every year this prize, created by the Revue Banque in partnership with the FBF, honours an outstandingly innovative FinTech in the banking, insurance or finance sector. The RB Innovation prize has two original features: it is open to all candidates and publicly voted. The formula is proving increasingly successful, attracting a record number of votes this year, more than double the numbers cast in 2015 and 2016. Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, said: "This prize embodies the close and long-term relationships between the banks and FinTechs." Of the 10 projects in competition this year, 5 are supported by a bank. The award is a real springboard for the winners and I wish Ditto Bank every success!"

Bankers and building professionals get together
The Confederation of Construction Tradesmen and SMEs (CAPEB), French Construction Federation (FFB) and Fédération Bancaire Française (FBF) have come together to address practical issues raised by construction tradesmen and SMEs on funding their industry at a time when order books are picking up. They are summarised in the leaflet: "Construction SMEs: how to fund your recovering order book?" It was widely disseminated to building trades and small businesses. The partnership was also an opportunity to build relationships between local representatives of the three professional bodies and their members.

In their own words

25 September 2017 - Midi Libre: Interview with François Villeroy de Galhau, Bank of France governor:
“I have a conviction about the economy: the years since the 2008-2009 crisis have brought a welcome toughening of financial security rules which are internationally coordinated. It is essential that nobody, including the Americans, rows back on these rules. We need to remember that protectionism, wherever and whenever it takes root, hurts the poorest consumers first.

FBF in the media

19 September 2017 – La Dépêche : “Corporate and property loans: a record year”


Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, Chief Executive Officer of the FBF was in Toulouse to meet economic stakeholders. It was a chance to talk to some forty local business leaders from the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry and get a flavour of the dynamism of Toulouse start-ups. Accompanied by Pierre Carli, Chairman of the Midi-Pyrenees FBF Committee, she fielded questions on development funding for young and innovative businesses. Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani recalled that: “Financing the economy is priority number 1 for French banks: a priority which works pretty well, as French banks are Europe's leading lenders to euro zone businesses, ahead of Germany.” She went on to add “Credit is an accelerator for the country's growth.”

10 September 2017 – France Culture: “What future for the banks? “


Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani appeared as a guest on France Culture’s Soft Power programme. She reiterated the challenges that the digital transformation poses for the banking sector. “The big banks - what people call the traditional banks - are in fact players in the digital economy. They have had websites since the 2000s and all of them have apps you can carry around in your pocket. Every morning, people check the weather, their social networks and their banking app. " Banks are stepping up innovation and collaborating closely with FinTechs (through takeovers, partnerships, etc.). “One of the key assets of the French financial industry is to have all this creativity, this banking ecosystem and the FinTechs all working together”. But the digital revolution has thrown up new non-bank players who can pose risks to the security of funds and personal data. When it comes to cyber-attacks, the big question is “what are the new entrants going to do with customers’ personal data and how can we maintain the security of the payment system with so many entry points whose level of security is unknown?” Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani ended by saying: “Any major data leak would affect confidence in the financial sector as a whole. This is an existential issue.”

19 July 2017 – Challenges: “The financial world is saying that France is back.”


In this interview, Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani stressed the renewed appeal of France to international investors. Since the Brexit referendum and election of Emmanuel Macron, France has moved up the rankings in international competition. Meanwhile, there were further strong signals of support for a powerful French financial market with comments from the Prime Minister in July intended to bolster the appeal of the Paris market. Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani said: “We are not talking about knocking London, the biggest financial market, off its perch, but we have the chance to recover several thousand jobs, plus indirect employment.” Remember too that “Paris offers a favourable ecosystem with a customer base of major issuers, an encouraging environment for FinTechs, one of the world's top asset managers and one of the best regimes for incoming ex-pats...”.



European Council


OECD: “Forum on green energy finance and investment, France”, Paris


OECD: Artificial intelligence conference, "AI: Intelligent Machines, Smart Policies", Paris


COP 23 (chaired by the Fiji Islands), in Bonn




Finance Innovation Conference: "#FISESSION: Machine Learning in banking and insurance", Paris


G20 / Green Finance Conference: “Making Markets Work for Green Finance”, in Singapore


ACPR Conference on the themes “Banking resolution: regulation to implement” and “Commercial practices and customer protection”, in Paris


Financial regulation conference - LABEX REFI in New York and Washington

Tweet of the month

Figure of the month

MA Barbat-Layani #RevolutionDigitale : digitalization strengthens proximity in the #bank/customer relationship

Banks finance households projects : loans outstanding to individuals amount to € 1.136 billion (+6.1% in August 2017)