The BNP Paribas Group is the product of successive bank mergers which began to make their mark on European economic history back in the 19th century. Nurtured over a long period of time, the trust that clients place in us is our most precious asset. We lead and steer the Group in accordance with the commitments that are essential to deserve that trust, and also to act as a responsible bank.
Our economic responsibility
Remaining true to our primary mission: long-term service to our clients
BNP Paribas’ primary vocation is to serve our clients by creating long-term relationships and helping them to fulfil their plans and projects. On the one hand, we help individuals to manage their finances and savings on a day-to-day basis; and on the other, we are the banking partner of choice for companies of all sizes and for institutional clients. Our business model is that of a universal bank, because this model best meets the multiple needs of our clients around the world. BNP Paribas operates in three main business areas, with staff working together across these areas on a daily basis.
Retail Banking is made up of local multichannel networks—branches, business centres, wealth-management centres and digital banking.
All deposits are channeled into lending activities. Retail Banking is also made up of international, specialised businesses that serve trade and industry. These include consumer lending, office and equipment leasing, and vehicle fleet-leasing services. Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) does business all over the world, aiming to be a long-term strategic partner to companies and institutional clients. CIB supports their growth and business-development needs, through both direct financing and the capital markets, and through risk management and advisory services. The Investment Solutions (IS) division consists of a range of complementary business lines, including insurance, asset management, real estate, and investor services. IS develops innovative products and services for both its own clients and for those in other Group businesses..
BNP Paribas is also ‘the bank for a changing world’. In all our activities, we aim to drive and anticipate innovation, and we are committed to helping and supporting our clients as they face change. For individual customers, this includes online and mobile banking, together with new payment methods. For companies, our ‘One Bank for Corporates’ network is designed to support the globalisation of their businesses. And for those wishing to set up their own business, we are there to help them bring their plans to fruition. In order to be able to carry out these various missions in a context of sharply increasing regulatory and capital requirements, BNP Paribas doubled its capital base between 2008 and 2013 and further strengthened its liquidity position. The Group also retains and reinvests the major part of its profits each year so as to continue strengthening its financial position and meet customer demand for credit, yet deliver regular returns to the shareholders who place their confidence in the bank.
Being prepared to take risks, while ensuring close risk control
Financing the economy, supporting projects, helping clients to manage their currency or interest-rate exposure—all this means accepting a degree of risk. One of BNP Paribas’ great strengths is precisely this expertise in managing risk. The Group believes that rigorous risk control is part of its responsibility, whether to clients or to the financial system as a whole. The bank’s decisions on the commitments
it makes are reached after a rigorous and concerted process and based on a strong, shared risk culture which pervades all levels of the Group. This is true both for risks linked to lending activities where loans are granted only after in-depth analysis of the borrower’s situation and the project to be financed; and for market risks arising from transactions with clients—these are assessed on a daily basis, tested against stress scenarios, and subject to limits. As a strongly diversified Group, both in terms of geography and businesses, BNP Paribas is able to balance risks and outcomes as they materialise. The Group is organised and managed in such a way that any difficulties arising in one business area will not jeopardise another..
Following a strict ethical code
Compliance with rules and following a strict ethical code are as important to BNP Paribas as rigorous risk control. The Group refuses
to work with any client or organisation that is involved in fraud, corruption or illicit dealings. This determination also of course includes obeying the law and complying with the regulations of countries in which we work. However, the Group’s internal rules, especially the Code of Conduct that applies to every employee, can be even more demanding. BNP Paribas set up a Compliance department in 2005 (long before the crisis) that has existed in its current form since its founding. The Head of Compliance is a member of the Group Executive Committee. The department’s staff numbers have increased fourfold since 2005 and today 2,000 people work there.
However, we do not claim to be infallible. The Group has many businesses and departments, which are subject to many different national regulatory frameworks. We have a duty to maintain a vigilance that is ongoing and assisted by our Audit & Control teams and the General Inspection office. Where lapses are identified, immediate corrections are applied, together with sanctions where appropriate, and in full cooperation with the relevant public authorities.
BNP Paribas is also determined to do its civic duty in the field of taxation. The bank is one of the biggest taxpayers in France and a sizeable taxpayer in the main countries where it does business. The Group has withdrawn from all tax havens identified as such by international public bodies. We also strive to foster compliance with tax obligations among our clients, notably through our policy on responsible Private Banking.
At BNP Paribas, loyalty to our clients is another fundamental principle that underpins our ethics. Each and every one of the Group’s employees strives wholeheartedly to help our clients to be successful, taking as great a care of their interests as those of the bank. Whether it concerns savings, loans, insurance or payment systems, a BNP Paribas employee would not offer a product or transaction
knowing it is not in the customer’s best interest. BNP Paribas takes a particularly supportive attitude to clients if they get into difficulty. Our approach is always to look beyond the current crisis to the future. The Group measures Customer Satisfaction across all business lines and we regularly adjust our Quality policy to ensure that our ratings remain high. Nevertheless, a bank is made up of men and women who may have great talent and skills but who may sometimes make mistakes. When this happens, BNP Paribas admits its errors and takes steps to remedy any unfavourable consequences for the client.
Our social responsibility, civic responsibility and environmental responsibility
In all the regions where the Group does business, it is closely involved in the local community. First of all, the bank lives up to its economic responsibilities, as outlined above, by working to finance clients’ plans and projects. In addition, BNP Paribas recognises that it has responsibilities in three other areas:
Social responsibility means treating the Group’s 185,000 employees in a fair and loyal manner, and engaging in serious and meaningful dialogue with staff and union representatives. BNP Paribas recruits and trains some 20,000 new staff each year. The Group has made a strong, conscious commitment to fostering diversity in all its forms, including setting objectives for promoting women. BNP Paribas’employment policy includes prioritising redeployment of existing staff through internal job mobility and training. We recognise that we have a particular responsibility in our four ‘domestic’ markets, where our size and range of activities have always enabled us to avoid forced redundancies.
Civic responsibility means helping to combat social exclusion and to promote education and culture. The Group has a strong stake in society, through initiatives and projects which take its banking role one step further for the good of society: special assistance for underprivileged neighbourhoods and sensitive areas; microcredit; and support for charitable organisations and social-economy enterprises. Our investment in microfinance and lending to the social economy are rising constantly and will exceed €200 million in 2015. Our civic engagement is also manifested in the corporate-philanthropy work of the BNP Paribas Foundation, whose charity initiatives encompass education, culture and research. An annual budget of nearly €40 million is allocated to its activities. These include the BNP Paribas ‘Rescue & Recovery’ Fund, which partners with three humanitarian NGOs. Last but not least, our business lines and branch networks organise financial-literacy programmes in order to give as many citizens as possible a better grasp of money matters.
Environmental responsibility means paying particular attention to the direct and indirect impacts on the environment that arise from the bank’s activities around the world. BNP Paribas has drawn up detailed criteria relating to financing and investing in sensitive fields of industry and trade, including power-generation and forestry. In addition, the Group has set clear objectives for reducing the environmental impact of its own day-to-day operations, including the reduction of paper consumption by 15% by 2015. Lastly, the Group supports, through the BNP Paribas Foundation, research programmes that aim to expand human knowledge on climate change and help manage the consequences. BNP Paribas has set numerical targets in all these areas. Part of the long-term compensation package of managers at the Group is linked to achieving these targets.
These commitments are reflected in a clear set of BNP Paribas management principles: Client Focus, Risk-Aware Entrepreneurship, People Care, and Lead by Example. They serve to inspire the Group’s 2014-2016 Development Plan. The teams at BNP Paribas strive each day to ensure success for those who place their trust in the bank and also to promote the good of society. At BNP Paribas we are proud to be a responsible bank and we take great pride in our profession. This is our vision for the bank.
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Chief Executive Officer
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