BNP Paribas Sees Limited Impact from Credit Crisis


BNP Paribas, France's largest listed bank, said on Sunday that the liquidity crisis in financial markets would have a limited impact on the bank.

Chief Executive Baudouin Prot also told France's La Tribune newspaper that the crisis was not yet over and he urged central banks to keep a close eye on the situation.

"In total, the direct impact of this crisis will be very limited for us," Prot said.

"The impact of the liquidity crisis on the cost of refinancing for BNP Paribas is more limited than for most of its competitors," he added. 

He said the market had improved but despite central bank interventions, it still had not returned to normal.

"It is important that the central banks concerned continue to follow carefully the development and the normalization of this liquidity situation between banks," he said.

Prot said his bank's exposure to subprime credits in the United States was limited because these loans only represented $155 million in a portfolio in its BancWest subsidiary worth a total of $13 billion.

He said another sector hit hard by the crisis was leveraged buy outs but said BNP Paribas had been "relatively careful" in this area.

The bank temporarily froze three investment funds in August following the US subprime mortgage woes, barring investors from redeeming the funds because it could not calculate their net asset value.

"The reality is that these three funds were very quickly reopened...with a drop in value of around 1%, which since then has practically been erased," Prot said.

"They are functioning normally."

Asked whether the crisis created the conditions for expansion or whether it would act as a break, he said: "We will not change our policy. If there are opportunities, we will examine them as usual."