ECB fines France's Credit Agricole over capital reserves

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) –


The EuropeanCentral Bank said Monday it had fined French lender Credit Agricole a total of 4.8 million euros ($5.5 million) over past irregularities in the way it declared its capital reserves.

The ECB said in a statement it slapped Credit Agricole (CA) itself with a 4.3-million-euro fine.

Meanwhile its corporate and investment banking arm must pay 300,000 euros and its consumer finance unit 200,000 euros.

The fines relate to CA classifying some of its assets under the "CET1" heading in public statements during 2015 and 2016.

CA failed to first secure permission for the move from supervisors, the ECB said.

Banks must hold a certain amount of so-called CET1 capital in relation to their exposure to financial risks, as a buffer to absorb potential losses.

Regulators from around the world introduced tougher targets for the capital cushions in the wake of the financial crisis, most recently in the "Basel III" package of rules finalised last December.

CA has the option of challenging the ECB's ruling at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

"Credit Agricole has taken note of the complaints... and reserves the option of appealing," the group said.

It is the third time that the ECB's banking supervisory arm, the Single Supervisory Mechanism, has imposed such fines.

Last year, it fined Italy's Banco Popolare di Vicenza 11.2 million euros and Ireland's Permanent TSB 2.5 million euros.