In the space of 5 years, the account management fees of French bank customers will have almost tripled, calculated the comparator Panorabanques. Rare ten years ago, these costs now affect nine out of ten customers and reach 18.50 euros per year on average. Last year, they increased by 2.2%, after a surge of 11% in 2017 and … 77% in 2016! In total, the French will have paid last year on average 194 euros for a (very) reduced number of services: access to their account, the possibility of making withdrawals and using an overdraft, and the granting of ‘a credit card. Here again, a sharp increase, twice as high as that of the cost of living. A very organized increase …
Why this increase?
Because, from an accounting point of view, this increase is totally unjustifiable: nothing in the services has seen its cost increase as quickly as the price attached to them. We therefore wonder what would justify the occasional transfers in branch have increased from one year to the next by 40% at Crédit du Nord where they have gone from 4 euros to … 7 euros. To understand, you have to look on the side of … the drop in rates. With interest rates close to zero, banks can no longer place their clients’ deposits in the bond markets. Managing these assets no longer brings them anything and, very often, it costs them money! They have also benefited a lot from their beautiful margins on mortgage loans, where they previously earned a little less than one point on their loans. But as mortgage rates have fallen from 5.6 to 1.65% in ten years, they have seen their margins follow and melt.
To complicate matters, they had to face huge and expensive modernization projects, linked to European regulation … In short, the clouds are piling up and it shows in the accounts. Apart from the regional banks of Crédit Agricole, whose profits are up 4%, the entire sector has seen its profits decline. Slightly as for BNP Paribas, down 3.1%. More strongly, as for Société Générale, whose profits fell by 27.6%. However, we are not going to shed a tear on bank accounts: they remain very good. Last year, the top six French banking groups generated a total of 23 billion euros in profits. Not bad is not it?
“Banking is not free”
Crédit Lyonnais Crédit Agricole BPCE Societe Generale BNP Paribas