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Societe Generale returns to profit, but comes under pressure in its home market

French bank Societe Generale reported second quarter results for 2023.
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Societe Generale

The bank posted a net income of 900 million euros ($983.6 million). That’s more than analysts expected, and a lot higher than the 1.5 billion euro loss posted in the second quarter of 2022, when the bank exited from Russia.

It was helped by a lower cost of risk (provisions set aside for failed loans), which came in at 12 basis points, or 166 million euros.

However, revenues in French retail banking dropped by 13.6% from a year ago, off the back of lower net interest margins — a crucial indicator of banks’ profitability.

Revenues in the global banking division fell by 7.3% on lower volumes and weaker volatility. Fixed income and currencies (FIC) activities were down by 18.4%, “amid less conducive market conditions due to weaker interest rate and currency volatility,” the bank sad in a statement.

The French lender also joined other peers this quarter in announcing a share buyback program for around 440 million euros.

Slawomir Krupa, the group’s chief executive officer, said in a statement: “During the quarter, commercial activity was good in most businesses. Group revenues contracted due to the decline in the net interest margin in France and in market activities’ revenues against a backdrop of gradual normalisation after some particularly favourable years.”

“The cost of risk was very low, reflecting the quality of our origination and our loan portfolio,” he added.

Here are other highlights for the quarter:

Revenues (or net banking income) dropped by 8.9% from a year ago to 6.3 billion euros.Operating expenses rose by 2.7% from a year ago to 4.4 billion euros.CET 1 ratio, a measure of bank solvency, stood at 13.1%.ROTE (return on tangible equity) increased to 5.6% from -13.7% a year ago.

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