Retail banking helps ease losses at Credit Agricole

FRENCH bank Credit Agricole posted a smaller-than-feared quarterly loss of €328m (£280.6m) yesterday, having warned that its stake in Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo had suffered a €1.25bn writedown.

Operating profit rose to €687m from €41m a year earlier, helped by French retail and falling provisions.

The bank’s revenues rose 12 per cent, though costs also rose seven per cent on the previous quarter.

group plans to propose a dividend of €0.45 a share, flat year-on-year after a quarter of “solid business momentum”.

Credit Agricole said it would not need to raise capital to meet incoming Basel III rules, after revealing a 0.6 percentage point jump in Tier 1 capital to 10.3 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Its core Tier 1 ratio had risen to 8.8 per cent by the end of 2010, thanks in part to a new €5.5bn capital guarantee from its parent banks.