Societe Generale reported income inches down in 2016, but retail banking is booming thanks to digital push

Hayley Kirton
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A drive for digital boosted SocGen in 2016 (Source: Getty)

Societe Generale announced a knock to its bottom line for 2016 this morning, although its retail banking business has bolstered its figures.

The figures

The French bank revealed reported group net income for the full year of €3.9bn (£3.3bn), down 3.2 per cent from €4bn the year before. Reported net income for the fourth quarter, meanwhile, slipped to €390m, down 40.5 per cent from €656m in the same period the year before, although the profit figures were better than analysts had predicted.

However, those numbers contain a slew of one-off events, including a €235m loss on a disposal of its Croatian subsidiary and a €286m adjustment for deferred taxes, both of which were booked through the bank's fourth quarter.

The bank also boosted its capital position during the course of the year, with its common equity tier 1 capital ratio rising to 11.5 per cent at the end of 2016, compared with 10.9 per cent at the end of 2015.

Additionally, SocGen proposed a dividend payment of €2.20 per share, and revealed it intends to float a stake in ALD, its vehicle leasing unit.

Shares are trading up 2.8 per cent at €43.92 at time of writing.

Why it's important

As more people make the jump to banking via the internet rather than in their local branch, lenders are having to rethink their offering. SocGen in particular has recently made a push for digital.

The performance of the bank's international retail offering was a particular highlight of 2016. Full-year reported net income in this division rocketed to €1.6bn, up 46.8 per cent compared with €1.1bn in 2015. In the fourth quarter, the unit pulled in net income of €438m, up 50 per cent from €292m.

What SocGen said

Frederic Oudea, SocGen's chief executive, said:

The quality of the Societe Generale group's results in 2016 reflects the good commercial and operating performances in all its businesses and its rigorous control of costs and risks. In an uncertain environment, the group has benefited from its well-balanced banking model, the trust shown by its customers and the commitment of its employees.

In short

He who embraces digital, wins, it appears.

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