BNP looks to buy up more banks in western US

24th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 24, 2006 (AFP) - The head of French bank BNP Paribas said Monday he was still looking for acquisitions in the western United States, a main focus of the group's expansion plans.

PARIS, April 24, 2006 (AFP) - The head of French bank BNP Paribas said Monday he was still looking for acquisitions in the western United States, a main focus of the group's expansion plans.

"In the United States, there are 7,500 banks," and this number is reduced by about 500 each year through mergers or acquisitions, Baudouin Prot said at a meeting with business journalists here. "It would be most unusual if there weren't one or two for BNP."

BNP entered the western US banking sector in 1979, with the purchase of BankWest, and it has since acquired 13 others in the region, most recently Commercial Federal last year.

It currently has a network of 740 agencies and over four million clients, which represent about 10 percent of group revenues.

Prot said that only BNP, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro have a "significant" presence in the United States, and noted that BNP is the only one active in western states.

He said BNP stood to benefit from the region's high birth rates and immigration levels, which generate growth rates similar to those in developing countries, but with the security of a stable US banking system.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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