BNP Paribas S.A.
TypeSociété Anonyme
Euronext ParisBNP
CAC 40 Component
IndustryFinancial services
Predecessor
Founded1848; 174 years ago (1848) (Comptoir National d'Escompte de Paris, predecessor of BNP)
1872 (Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, later called Paribas)
2000 (as BNP Paribas)
HeadquartersBoulevard des Italiens, Paris, France
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Jean Lemierre[1] (Chairman)
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé (CEO), Michel Pébereau, Baudouin Prot, Thierry Laborde, Renaud Dumora, Yann Gérardin, Laurent David
ProductsInvestment banking, corporate banking, securities services, asset management, consumer banking, credit cards, mortgage loans, private banking, wealth management
RevenueIncrease 46.2 billion (2021)[2]
Increase €12.2 billion (2021)[2]
Increase €9.5 billion (2021)[2]
Total assetsIncrease €2.6 trillion (2021)[2]
Total equityIncrease €117.9 billion (2021)[2]
Number of employees
190,000 (2022)[2]
Websitegroup.bnpparibas

BNP Paribas is a French international banking group, founded in 2000 from the merger between Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP, "National Bank of Paris") and Paribas, formerly known as the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas. The full name of the group's parent entity is BNP Paribas S.A.

With 190,000 employees as of February 2021, the bank is organized into three major business areas: Commercial, Personal Banking & Services (CPBS), Investment & Protection Services (IPS) and Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB).

The group is listed on the first market of Euronext Paris and a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index,[3] while it also included in the French CAC 40 index.

BNP Paribas is the second largest banking group in Europe, after HSBC, and ninth largest Banking group in the world. It became one of the five largest banks in the world following the 2008 financial crisis.[4] Despite some legal difficulties in 2014, including being fined the largest ever sum as reparation for violating U.S. sanctions,[5] it remains one of the ten largest banks worldwide.[6] It is considered a systemically important bank by the Financial Stability Board.

History

BNP Paribas results from a series of French and international mergers. Particularly notable were the merger of Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris and Banque nationale pour le commerce et l'industrie that formed BNP in 1966, and the latter's merger with Paribas in 1999-2000. Other significant recent transactions involved the acquisitions by BNP Paribas in 2006 of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Italy, and in 2008 of Fortis in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP)

Main articles: Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris and Banque nationale pour le commerce et l'industrie

Former headquarters of the Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris, now seat of BNP Paribas Asset Management

On 7 March 1848, the French Provisional Government founded the Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris (CNEP) in response to the financial shock caused by the revolution of February 1848. The CNEP soon developed the largest international network of any French bank.

BNCI resulted from the combination over time of a number of pre-existing banks: the Banque franco-égyptienne (est. 1870), which in 1889 became the Banque internationale de Paris [fr]; the Banque française d'Afrique du Sud [fr] (est. 1895); and the Banque nationale de crédit [fr] (est. 1912).

After the end of the Second World War, the French state decided to "put banks and credit to work for national reconstruction". René Pleven, then Minister of Finance, launched a massive reorganization of the banking industry. A law passed on 2 December 1945 and which went into effect on 1 January 1946 nationalized the four leading French retail banks: Banque nationale pour le commerce et l'industrie (BNCI), Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris (CNEP), Crédit Lyonnais, and Société Générale.

In 1966, the French government decided to merge Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris with Banque nationale pour le commerce et l'industrie to create one new bank called Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP).

The bank was re-privatised in 1993 under the leadership of Michel Pébereau as part of a second Chirac government's privatization policy.[7][8]

Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (known from 1982 as Paribas)

See also: Paribas and Bischoffsheim family

Hotel de Mondragon in Paris, the former seat of Paribas, now executive office of BNP Paribas
Hotel de Mondragon in Paris, the former seat of Paribas, now executive office of BNP Paribas

Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Paribas) was established on 27 January 1872, through the merger of Banque de Crédit et de Dépôt des Pays-Bas, whose origins go back to the bank established in 1820 by Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim in Amsterdam, and Banque de Paris, which had been founded in 1869 by a group of Parisian bankers. It went on to develop a strong investment banking business both domestically in France and overseas.

During the period 1872 to 1913, it was involved in raising funds for the French and other governments as well as big businesses through a number of bond issues. It helped the French government raise funds during the First World War and raised further capital and expanded into investments into industrial companies during the Great Depression. It stagnated and lost assets during the Second World War.

After World War II, it escaped the nationalisation of other French banks due to its status as an investment bank and managed to take advantage of that by expanding its operations overseas. It also directs its activity towards businesses and participates in the development and restructuring of French industry, including names such as Groupe Bull and Thomson-CSF.

The bank was nationalized in 1982 by the government of Pierre Mauroy under François Mitterrand as part of a law that nationalized five major industrial companies, thirty-nine registered banks, and two financial companies, Suez and Paribas. It was re-privatized in January 1987 by the Chirac government.

In the 1990s, Paribas had an active policy of acquisitions and divestiture. This included selling the Ottoman Bank to Doğuş Holding, and setting up the joint venture lending company Cetelem in Germany. It sold Crédit du Nord to Société Générale and in 1998 it merged with Compagnie Bancaire, renaming the bank with the official name Compagnie Financière de Paribas.

Founding of BNP Paribas

Michel Pébereau, CEO of BNP from 1993, was the architect of the merger with Paribas and chaired the merged entity until 2011
Michel Pébereau, CEO of BNP from 1993, was the architect of the merger with Paribas and chaired the merged entity until 2011
Former headquarters of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Rome
Former headquarters of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Rome
Former headquarters of Fortis in Brussels, previously seat of Generale Bank
Former headquarters of Fortis in Brussels, previously seat of Generale Bank

In 1999, BNP and Société Générale fought a complex battle on the stock market, with Société Générale bidding for Paribas and BNP bidding for Société Générale and counter-bidding for Paribas. BNP's bid for Société Générale failed, while its bid for Paribas succeeded leading to a merger of BNP and Paribas one year later on 23 May 2000.

In 2006, BNP Paribas purchased Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), Italy's sixth largest bank.

On 9 August 2007, BNP Paribas became the first major financial group to acknowledge the impact of the sub-prime crisis by closing two funds exposed to it. This day is now generally seen as the start of the credit crisis and the bank's quick reaction saved it from the fate of other large European banks such as UBS.[9][10]

On 6 October 2008, BNP took over 75% of troubled bank Fortis' activities in Belgium, and 66% in Luxembourg, in exchange for the Belgian government becoming the new group's major shareholder. The sales of the Fortis shares was suspended by a court order from the Court of Appeal on Friday 12 December[11][12]

On 14 December 2008, BNP announced it could lose €350 million as a victim of the Madoff fraud.[13]

In the end of January, the Belgian government and BNP negotiated for a 75% partnership in Fortis Bank Belgium. Fortis Insurance Belgium would be reintegrated in Fortis Holding.[14]

On 11 February, Fortis' shareholders decided that Fortis Bank Belgium and Fortis Insurance Belgium should not become property of BNP Paribas. However the acquisition was completed and BNP Paribas took 75% share holding and renamed the new subsidiary BNP Paribas Fortis. After this only Fortis Insurance International was left in Fortis Holding and this was renamed as Ageas, a business that had Insurance all over Europe and Asia. The remaining Fortis Bank Netherlands was in the hands of the Dutch Government which merged it with other ABN AMRO holdings it already owned under the name ABN AMRO.

In May 2009, BNP Paribas became the majority shareholder (65.96%) of BGL (formerly Fortis Bank Luxembourg), the State of Luxembourg retaining 34% making BNP the eurozone's largest bank by deposits held.[15]

On 21 September, the bank's registered name was changed to BGL BNP Paribas and in February 2010, BGL BNP Paribas became the 100% owner of BNP Paribas Luxembourg. The transfer was finalised on 1 October 2010 with the incorporation of BNP Paribas Luxembourg's business in the operational platforms of BGL BNP Paribas.[16] In 2013 BNP Paribas was awarded the Bank of the Year award by The International Financing Review ("IFR"), Thomson Reuters' leading financial industry publication. The IFR awards are a key industry benchmark and Bank of the Year is the top honour awarded.[17][18][19]

BNP Paribas reached an agreement in December 2013 to acquire Rabobank's Polish unit BGZ Bank for around $1.4 billion.[20] In September 2014, BNP completed the purchase of BGZ Bank for a final fee stated in the media to be $1.3 billion.[21]

In June 2014, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to falsifying business records and conspiracy, having violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, and Sudan. It agreed to pay an $8.9 billion fine, the largest ever for violating U.S. sanctions at that time.[22][5]

In December 2021, BNP Paribas announced to exit US retail banking business by selling its Bank of the West to the Bank of Montreal for $16.3bn.[23]

Financial data

In 2021, total revenues of €46.2 billion represent an increase of 4.4% compared to 2020, BNP Paribas remains at the top of the French banks' ranking in terms of activity. During this year, BNP Paribas Group net income attributable to equity holders increased to 34.3% (to 9.5 billion euros).

The geographic breakdown of Net Banking Income (NBI) at the end of 2020 is as follows: Europe (72.2%), North America (12.9%), Asia Pacific (8.6%) and others (6.3%).[24]

Financial data in € billions[25]
Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Revenue 38.822 39.168 42.938 43.411 43.161 42.516 44.597 44.275 46.235
Net Income 5.439 0.507 7.044 8.115 8.207 7.526 8.173 7.067 9.488
Assets 1,800.139 2,077.759 1,994.193 2,076.959 1,960.252 2,040.836 2,164.713 2,488.491 2,634.444
Employees 184,545 187,903 189,077 192,418 196,128 202,624 198,816 193,319 189,765

Corporate identity

The BNP Paribas logo since 2000 (designed by Laurent Vincent under the leadership of the Communications Director, Antoine Sire) is called the "courbe d'envol" (curve of taking flight). The stars allude to Europe and universality. The transformation of the stars into birds conveys openness, freedom, growth, and the ability to change and adapt. The shape and movement of the curve places the logo in the universe of life. The green square symbolises nature and optimism.

Business units

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In 2022, BNP Paribas' organization is based on 3 fields of activities: Commercial, Personal Banking & Services (CPBS), Investment & Protection Services (IPS) and Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB).

Commercial, Personal Banking & Services (CPBS)

The Commercial, Personal Banking & Services (CPBS) division is managed by Thierry Laborde, Chief Operating Officer, and includes Commercial Banking in France (BCEF), BNP Paribas Fortis in Belgium, BNL in Italy, BGL BNP Paribas in Luxembourg, as well as in Algeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, China and the United States.

It also includes services, real estate credit, corporate investment financing activities (BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions), such as consumer credit (BNP Paribas Personal Finance), BNP Paribas Personal Investors and rental with services (Arval) and Nickel, which is one of the leaders in Europe and worldwide.

The group also owns an American subsidiary BancWest which operates as Bank of the West in the western United States. Previously another retail subsidiary First Hawaiian Bank operated in Hawaii, a position that BNP Paribas fully exited in 2019.[26]

BNP Paribas is the largest bank in the Eurozone by total assets and second largest by market capitalisation according to The Banker magazine, just behind Banco Santander.

It employs over 190,000 people, according to the bank as of 31 December 2021, of which 145,000 work in Europe, and maintains a presence in 65 countries.

This represents nearly 60 million customers for about 5400 branches in 44 countries in Europe, Africa and America.

Domestic markets

United States

In the United States, BNP Paribas owns BancWest, which in turn operates retail banking subsidiaries Bank of the West and previously operated First Hawaiian Bank. Bank of the West operates in 19 Western US states (where it ranks as the 7th largest foreign bank by assets), while First Hawaiian is Hawaii's leading bank with a 40% market share in deposits. Together the two banks operate 710 branches, and service 5 million clients.

The two banks were merged into BancWest in 1998, and BNP Paribas took full control of the combined entity in 2001.

The group has a strong presence on niche markets such as lending for marine and recreational vehicles, church lending, and agribusiness. In 2009 BancWest had €2.1 billion in revenues (5.2% of the total group's), and 11,200 employees (5.5% of the total group's headcount).[27] BancWest lost €223 million in 2009 largely due to its exposure in the subprime mortgage crisis in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

However, in December 2021, BNP Paribas has agreed to exit US retail banking business by selling its Bank of the West to the Bank of Montreal for $16.3bn.[23]

Emerging markets

In 2009, BNP Paribas reorganized its retail banking divisions renaming its "Emerging Markets" group the "Europe Mediterranean" group. This change was made because after the integration of Fortis Bank's Polish and Turkish subsidiaries, BNP Paribas's emerging market activities are now heavily concentrated in Eastern Europe and the southern half of the Mediterranean basin.

BNP Paribas is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, a joint venture of several major international banks that allows customers of the banks to use their ATM card or check card at another bank within the Global ATM Alliance with no ATM surcharges when traveling internationally. Other participating banks are Barclays (United Kingdom), Bank of America (United States), China Construction Bank (China), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Santander Serfin (Mexico), Ukrsibbank (Ukraine), Scotiabank (Canada) and Westpac (Australia and New Zealand).[28]

Investment & Protection Services (IPS)

Investment & Protection Services (IPS), headed by Renaud Dumora, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, brings together four specialized businesses offering savings, investment and protection solutions: BNP Paribas Cardif, which has 1.4 billion euros in pretax net income, BNP Paribas Asset Management, BNP Paribas Wealth Management and BNP Paribas Real Estate, operates in 49 countries with more than 18,000 employees.

They design financial products for retail, professional, ‘corporate’ and institutional customers.

Corporate and Institutional Banking

Main article: BNP Paribas CIB

Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB), headed by Yann Gérardin, Chief Operating Officer, comprises three main business lines: Global Markets, Securities Services and Treasury, Corporate Banking.

Present in 56 countries, it serves 18,000 corporate and institutional clients with over 33,000 employees.

In 2020, the division's revenues, at 13,763 million euros, grew sharply (+13.9% compared to 2019) and were up in its three businesses.

Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB) provides financial solutions to corporate and institutional clients, including market issues, financing, risk management and hedging activities. These financial services connect companies' financing needs with the investment opportunities sought by institutional investors.

BNP Paribas' economic research is available on the web for free access; on the other hand, market research is reserved for professionals (financial institutions and sophisticated investors).

One of BNP Paribas' London Trading Floors.
One of BNP Paribas' London Trading Floors.

Corporate structure

Executive Committee

The General Management and the Executive Committee are composed as follows:

Board of directors

As of 17 May 2021:[29]

Other Corporate Officers

Major shareholders June 2021

Main subsidiaries

Retail banking

Italian Headquarters in Milan
Italian Headquarters in Milan

Other subsidiaries

Controversies

Antisemitic allegations

In 2016 BNP reached a $40m settlement with a Jewish employee.[37] The employee had been made to watch a training video. The film portrayed Adolf Hitler as the CEO of Deutsche Bank, one of BNP's competitors and the Nazi soldiers around him as Deutsche Bank executives. The video showed Hitler screaming at the soldiers. Also, his colleagues made a number of anti-semitic comments during his time at BNP Paribas.[38]

Business with sanctioned countries: $8.9 billion fine

On 30 May 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States Department of Justice was negotiating a possible guilty plea with BNP Paribas as well as the size of the resulting fine for violating U.S. regulations and evading US sanctions. The Justice Department sought a fine of more than US $10 billion, which was expected to be reduced to $8 or $9 billion in negotiations.[39] BNP Paribas was said to have laundered up to US$100 billion from the sanctioned countries of Sudan, Iran, and Cuba.[40]

On 1 July 2014, BNP Paribas pled guilty in a New York state court to falsifying business records as well as conspiracy in connection to those falsifications. It was also expected to plead guilty in federal court to violating laws against money-laundering.[41] It agreed to pay $8.9 billion, the largest fine ever for violating U.S. sanctions, and substantially more than the previous record of $1.9 billion.[22][41] BNP Paribas was also barred for one year under the plea agreement from certain US dollar-dominated transactions. The fine exceeded the bank's $6.4 billion 2013 annual income and the $1.1 billion it previously had allocated for the anticipated fine.[41][42]

The bank's failure to cooperate with the multi-year investigation was given as a significant factor in the size of the fine. Additionally, BNP Paribas continued to process sanctioned transactions after the investigation began. About 30 employees left the bank as a result of the investigation.[41] According to the FBI's New York Field Office and Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) "BNPP deliberately disregarded the law and provided rogue nations, and Sudan in particular, with vital access to the global financial system, helping that country's lawless government to harbor and support terrorists and to persecute its own people. Today's sentence demonstrates that financial institutions will be punished severely but appropriately for violating sanctions laws and risking our national security interests."[43]

After the fine was announced, BNP said it would be "just fine" and that it had "a comprehensive plan" to avoid similar violations in the future. The company's stock, which had fallen 12% since news of the investigation first leaked, rose 4% on the announcement.[41][42] To comply with the transaction ban, BNP Paribas will use a third party to clear its US transactions. Standard & Poor's said it was reviewing the bank's financial standing in light of the fine and penalties for a possible downgrade.[41]

Russian president Vladimir Putin alleged without providing any supporting evidence that the US government was using the case to punish France for selling Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia. He said the large fine and the imposition of sanctions on the French bank were the result of US displeasure with France's decision not to stop the sale.[44] Former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet had previously said that a large fine was neither fair nor proportionate to the violations and could disrupt the global banking system.[41]

Check processing

In 2010 the French government's Autorité de la concurrence fined BNP and 10 other banks €384 million for colluding to charge unjustified fees on check processing, including extra fees during the transition from paper check transfer to "Exchanges Check-Image" electronic transfer.[45] On 19 January 2011 BNP sued Russian grain trader, OOO Rosinteragroservis, and its subsidiary OAO Kubankhlebprodukt, claiming US$20 million in debts and penalties.[46]

Discrimination

In January 2022, a female banker was awarded £2M after the UK employment tribunal concluded that she had endured years of direct sex discrimination and victimisation.[47] Her complaints include harassment and being paid thousands of pounds less than male colleagues in the same role.[48]

Financing private prisons

In 2017, ICCR and the Families Belong Together Coalition began confronting banks about the human rights risks which accompany sponsoring the private prison industry.[49] In 2019, BNP Paribas and other banks disengaged from the private prison industry.[50]

€152 million risk management affair

The German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung[51] FOCUS,[52] Bloomberg[53] and the French Les Échos[54] newspapers published an article regarding a €152 million mistrade (erroneous trade) in which BNP Paribas Arbitrage was allegedly involved.[55][56] The bank has sold securities for €326,400 to the investor Armin S. but the value of the securities is €163 million according to the bank.

According to the article, the error remained unnoticed for several days. BNP has even reconfirmed the original price. However, a trade-cancellation was only possible until the next day according to prevailing erroneous trade rules.

Michael Lusk published an article regarding this case with the title "Do banks' internal control system work?"[57]

A solicitor for Armin S., Mario Bögelein, stated in the article that a bank not recognizing an error of this magnitude should not be protected by law.[55][58][59]

The Financial Times published an article in March 2018 about the case with the title "BNP Paribas failed to book trades in Germany for a week". It cites internal documents that show it did not book all trades that happened in structured products in Germany from 2 to 9 December 2015. The Financial Times estimates that 8,500 trades might have been affected. It also questions if the bank has hedged their positions if the trades have not been booked. Armin S. is cited with the words "I don't think it's fair if on the one hand, BNP wants to rely on statutory safeguard clauses but on the other hand they ignored all control-tasks imposed by the regulators – ECB, BaFin and AMF – for a whole week".[60][61] ArminS vs BNP Paribas - 152m EUR risk management affair

Armin S also filed a claim for €152 million in Paris because the relevant jurisdiction is still unknown.[62]

Sponsorship

BNP Paribas has been a major sponsor of tennis. In 1973 it became the major sponsor of the French Open, one of the four prestigious Grand Slam tournaments in the sport. In 2001 the bank began to sponsor the Davis Cup before becoming the title sponsor in 2002. In 2002 it became the sponsor of the Paris Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. In 2008 it became the sponsor of the BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux, an ATP Challenger Tour tournament. The company's sponsorship expanded to the United States in 2009 when it became the title sponsor of the Indian Wells Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 two-week tournament in California. It also sponsored the BNP Paribas Showdown and BNP Paribas Tennis Classic exhibition tournaments held in New York City and London respectively. The Stanford Classic, since 1992, is instead directly sponsored by the Bank of the West subsidiary.

See also

References

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