Credit Agricole Wants Germany Expansion, Rules out Setting Up Direct Bank

By Christine Benders-Rueger, Matthias Goldschmidt and Max Bernhard Features Dow Jones Newswires

Credit Agricole SA (ACA.FR) plans to further expand its business in Germany, but rules out setting up its own direct bank, its senior country officer for Germany and Austria, Frank Schoenherr, told Dow Jones Newswires on Friday.

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Credit Agricole instead plans to focus on its corporate and investment banking business, he said.

The French bank has lowered the revenue threshold at which potential customers are approached to one billion euros ($1.16 billion) from EUR2 billion.

The company is also looking at concepts for digital banking, said Mr. Schoenherr, adding that competition in the market is already high, but that digital banks in Germany are more profitable and offer significantly higher growth potential compared with their conventional counterparts.

Setting up a direct bank is expensive and tied to high risks, he said.

Mr. Schoenherr did not comment on possible deals in Germany.

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Credit Agricole's chief executive Philippe Brassac ruled out buying Germany's Commerzbank AG (CBK.XE) or a stake in it on Wednesday.

The bank is present in the German market with its six subsidiaries Amundi, Caceis, Corporate & Investmentbank, Creditplus, Eurofactor and FCA Bank. Corporate & Investmentbank has seen the highest yearly growth, which is why Credit Agricole wants to expand the corporate and investment banking unit, according to Mr. Schoenherr.

Write to Christine Benders-Rueger at christine.benders-rueger@wsj.com, Matthias Goldschmidt at matthias.goldschmidt@wsj.com and Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 10, 2017 08:41 ET (13:41 GMT)