An activist has gone on trial in a town in south-west France for having “requisitioned” some chairs from a bank. Jon Palais and others took the chairs as part of a wider protest against tax evasion and the use of tax havens which costs France billions of euros a year. The bank in question, BNP Paribas, took exception to the protest and made a formal complaint over their “stolen” chairs. But as Dan Israel reports, the legal complaint backfired as Palais and his supporters turned the trial into a media event in which the bank's own actions were held up to scrutiny.
Once shunned for exposure to debt in Greece and Italy, French bank stocks were top pick this year, but future competitivity doubts now cloud future.
French banks, among lenders the most exposed to Greek debt, are reportedly steping up planning for the debt-laden country leaving the euro zone.
French bank shares rose sharply after it emerged they had comparatively small amount to raise to cover their part of the debt crisis lending plan.
A senior European Central Bank official said concerns over French banks' exposure to the debt of Greece, Spain and Ireland are exaggerated.
French banks are tightening their lending criteria again, brokers warn, making it harder for Britons to buy or refinance holiday homes in France.
France dismissed concerns about its biggest banks, insisting that it had no plans to nationalize any of them despite a credit rating downgrade.
The Bank of France said Friday all four French banks taking part in the European stress tests have passed, thanks to diversified business models.
French, German banks' Greek debt rollover plan suffered a blow on Monday as credit agency Standard & Poor's said it amounts to a default.
Accounting issues remain a major obstacle for private sector investors considering the French banking sector's plan for restructuring Greek debt.
French banks have agreed a plan for a Greek debt rollover, which would see them reinvest in Greek sovereign bonds with longer maturities.