BNP Leaps Ahead of Deutsche Bank, HSBC in European Trade Finance

BNP Paribas SA, fined $9 billion this year for violating U.S. sanctions, is the lead provider of financing for large European corporations, leaping ahead of Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc, data from Greenwich Associates show.

BNP leads the market, providing trade financing to 32 percent of large European corporations, compared with Deutsche Bank’s 29 percent and HSBC’s 27 percent, according to the advisory service’s survey. Greenwich interviewed 327 financial officers at large corporations and financial institutions across Europe between March and June.

BNP’s portion of European client relationships in trade finance rose from 25 percent a year earlier. HSBC’s share is unchanged, and Deutsche Bank’s rose by 3 percentage points, Greenwich Associates’ data show.

“Large European companies have adopted broad strategies for international growth,” Greenwich Associates said in the report e-mailed yesterday. “They’re forming fresh relationships with banks that can deliver high-quality trade finance.”

Corporate banking represented 780 million euros ($965.6 million) of third-quarter sales at BNP, up 2.7 percent from a year earlier excluding currency effects, the Paris-based bank said Oct. 31. BNP’s corporate-financing unit in the third quarter had “strong growth” in Asia Pacific, while activity was “weak” in Europe because of a slowdown in energy and commodities financing, the report said.

BNP Paribas is facing a prohibition in 2015 on dollar-clearing operations including oil & gas finance in Paris, Geneva and Singapore as well as trade finance in Milan. BNP is spending 200 million euros to improve compliance following a record fine in June for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. Many of the sanctions violations involved BNP’s commodity-trade finance operations in Geneva and Paris.

As part of BNP’s settlement, 13 executives were required to leave the bank including Dominique Remy, former head of structured finance for BNP’s corporate and investment bank.

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