Crédit Agricole focuses growth on retail banking

FRENCH bank Crédit Agricole’s new plan to grow net profit more than five-fold by 2014 disappointed hopes yesterday for an announcement on possible asset sales.

New chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet unveiled a new target of €6bn-7bn (£5.2bn-£6.1bn) in net profit by 2014 as the bank shifts its focus back from investment banking onto its retail business.

Analysts on average already expected the bank to be making €6bn of net profit in 2013 and €6.35bn the year after.

Profits at the corporate and investment bank (CIB) division are expected to only rise to €1.8bn from around €1.5bn in 2010, excluding the impact of toxic assets kept in a separate portfolio, as it puts a cap on expansion.

Group return on equity will in 2014 be between 10 and 12 per cent, the bank said, also helped by fresh cost-cutting at the investment bank.