Credit Agricole joins ranks with peers as it sets out plan to repay 3bn loans

Credit Agricole is to repay &euro;3bn (&pound;2.7bn) of state support this month, joining its big French rivals and overseas lenders in cutting ties to government by reimbursing state aid.<br /><br />Credit Agricole, France&rsquo;s biggest retail bank, will redeem loans given in December by the SPPE, the body set up to boost the capital of banks under strain, on 27 October it said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Credit Agricole is just following the trend of the French banks. The announcement is rather positive and the operation should be well received,&rdquo; said Natixis Securities analyst Christophe Ricetti.<br /><br />Societe Generale last week launched a &pound;4.8bn to repay state support and fund takeovers, a week after BNP Paribas said it would tap investors for &pound;4.3bn to repay the government.<br /><br />Banks around the world are trying to cut loose from government aid, fearful of more state interference if they are partially owned or helped by taxpayers.<br /><br />The repayment is possible thanks to Agricole&rsquo;s success in selling debt in recent months, including $1.35bn (&pound;845m) to private banks in Asia and Europe and $1bn to the US institutional market. <br /><br />The moves by French banks reflect wider efforts by banks in Europe and the United States to take advantage of renewed activity in global stock markets to regain their financial autonomy.