BNP Paribas has bucked the trend at the end of a difficult week for banks. Net income for Q3 at France's biggest bank rose 11% despite a lacklustre economic environment. Sara Hemrajani reports.
No banking blues for BNP Paribas. France's top lender has reversed its downward spiral by returning to profit in the third quarter. BNP posted net income of 1.5 billion euros - a rise of 11 percent from the same period last year. The bank's finances took a hit this spring when it was fined nearly 9 billion dollars by U.S. authorities for breaking sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran. But BNP's Chief Financial Officer says the penalty didn't impact the company's relationship with its clients. SOUNDBITE: Lars Machenil, Chief Financial Officer, BNP Paribas, saying (English): "Basically a tribute to our clients, tribute to our diversification on businesses and geographies. Mainly on the back of fixed income, international retail and our specialised businesses. So I would qualify these results as a very good performance and basically testimony to the fact that the clients all continued and stayed doing business with us." BNP's gains offset a lacklustre economic environment at home in France. And while it may be encouraging to see better news coming out of the country, Rabobank's Jane Foley says Paris still has a long way to go to convince investors. SOUNDBITE: Jane Foley, Senior Foreign Exchange Strategist, Rabobank, saying (English): "I think one set of results that are on the positive side certainly doesn't solve the problems for France. I think the market, generally speaking for the next few years, will be looking for signs of more structural reform, particularly I think in the labour market to reassure the market that France is moving in the right direction." On the other side of the English Channel, the Royal Bank of Scotland also beat expectations with its profit announcement. But like its rival Barclays, RBS has revealed it too is setting aside cash to cover potential fines for manipulating currency markets. The state-backed bank is keeping provisions to the tune of 400 million pounds ready, and it warned that further charges from other investigations would continue.