French banks pass EU stress tests: CEBS

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All four major French banks examined in the EU's banking stress tests passed with a clean bill of health, according to results released Friday by European bank regulators.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BPCE passed the financial stability tests for lenders "with success," said the governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer.

French banks "really have a strong capacity for resistance," Noyer said.

The four lenders were among 91 European banks examined by EU authorities to determine their ability to resist another financial crisis.

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde hailed the performance of the French banks, saying they reflected the "overall solidity" of the sector.

She said French banks had managed to avoid undue exposure to sovereign risk as they hold few bonds issued by governments in financial difficulty.

BNP Paribas holds Greek bonds worth 4.7 billion euros (6.1 billion dollars), Societe Generale 4.0 billion, BPCE 1.18 billion and Credit Agricole 854 million.

The London-based Committee of European Banking Supervisors said only seven of the 91 Europeam banks examined -- five in Spain and one each in Germany and Greece -- were deemed to be vulnerable to future financial upheavals.

© 2010 AFP

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