French banks posted strong and even record results in the second quarter. This is despite the somewhat uncertain global economic context. A large part of the good dynamics comes from the retail branch. And for good reason: Not only did they stock up on mortgages, but they also provided their customers with good consumer credit.
Thus, on the part of Crédit Mutuel, who notes that financing of his clients’ projects “increased” in order to “illustrate his support for the recovery”, outstanding consumer credit rose 6.8% during the half-year, to 48.8 billion euros.
The other two banking groups are showing good momentum. Credit Agricole outstanding consumer credit rose 4.9% at the end of June to €96.6 billion (compared to €93.9 billion in December). In BPCE, it rose 5.8% to €37.4 billion, between June 2021 and June 2022.
recovery in revolving credit
Other major French banks are not excluded. BNP Paribas reported a 4.9% increase in its trade surplus (11.3 billion euros), while La Banque Postale saw a 4% increase to 5.5 billion euros. Societe Generale also posted an increase, driven in particular by the phenomenal success of Boursorama (+32%).
The performance of banks over the half year is also above the average increase recorded by the Banque de France (3.7%), with total balances in circulation reaching 197 billion euros. The Federation of French Financial Companies (ASF), which represents specialists in the consumer credit sector, also notes a “clear development” in the market, which has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
In detail, the Social Security Fund noted a strong rebound in revolving loans (+24.7% between February and May) and personal loans (+21%). Consumer credit is also driven by used car financing (+14.3%). On the other hand, the new car is in a free fall.
However, the good performance of this credit activity since the beginning of the year is part of the macroeconomic and geopolitical context that can reflect the momentum. According to the Conseil d’Analyse Economique, the budget of a large part of the French people is under severe pressure with rising inflation. As a result, higher interest rates may cause families to think twice before getting a loan.
In addition, family morale is deteriorating month after month: in July, the percentage of French people who think the time is right to make big purchases fell for the seventh month in a row. This does not bode well for consumption, the primary driver of French growth. In its latest forecast, OFCE estimates that GDP should grow by 2.4% in 2022 and then by 1% in 2023, far from the 6% recovery observed in 2021.