Credit Agricole plans changes for Emporiki

The recent political tug-of-war over the sale of Emporiki Bank to Credit Agricole (CASA) has led France’s biggest lender to the decision not to give any interviews to the Greek press on the subject before September, the daily Eleftherotypia («Strategic Investor» column) reports today. However, CASA’s head of international activities, Jean-Frederic de Leusse, did give an interview to the French financial newspaper La Tribune, outlining a number of main points. First, de Leusse said, CASA will present Emporiki’s new management in September. The managing director and the president of the bank are «likely» to be Greek, while the management team will be a mix of the two nationalities. Second, the French wish to transform the Emporiki network by centralizing back office services and transferring personnel to the commercial sales network. Besides life insurance and consumer credit, «there are many things that can be done with Calyon, the group’s investment arm, in the financing of shipping enterprises, in leasing and factoring. Third, CASA will evaluate Emporiki’s subsidiaries in Bulgaria, Romania and Albania – in which the French group has no presence today – and will seek closer cooperation between Serbia’s bank Meridien and the Greek lender. Fourth, de Leusse sees no change in CASA’s share in Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo (BES) in coming years, as the family which has a controlling stake in it is not willing to reduce its own share. Fifth, the French group wishes to maintain its presence in Italy, where it has invested 7-8 billion euros in an 18 percent stake in Banca Intesa.

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