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On France, IMF Says Banks Have Far to Go, Of UBS, KBC & Noyer's Dream

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- In an International Monetary Fund report embargoed until 5:45 am today, the IMF says that "French banks still have some way to go" and speaks of "limited public disclosure of financial sector data." Both are understatements.

  Take for example French fraud charges for CDO chicanery by the bank KBC, which is based in Belgium, and moves on UBS (France) for helping tax evasion, after the grilling CEO Jean-Frederic de Leusse -- then ask if the French banks didn't do the same or worse.

  France's regulators, meanwhile, remain in a dream world. Banque de France governor Christian Noyer while presenting the annual "prudential" report on May 29 bragged that "in the banking sector, the institutions have … improved their liquidity position by accumulating reserves." Many don't agree.

Even the IMF says, "Given uncertainty on the pace at which banks can move to an originate-to-distribute model, policies should focus on removing constraints on the deposit base. In this regard, the diversion of an important part of household savings toward regulated savings accounts (due to the past and planned increase in the ceiling of the livret A and the livret de développement durable) goes against the regulatory objectives set out by the authorities. The parameters that define the distribution of the funds collected through these instruments between the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and the banks could be set in a more flexible manner so as to support the adaptation of financial institutions to the new regulatory requirements. Eventually, a more thorough reform of the taxation of financial income would be desirable toward a maturity-based rather than product-based approach.

  More fundamentally the IMF says that "the structural challenge faced by France is captured by three related indicators: a declining rate of productivity growth, low profit margins, and a deteriorating export performance."

  But France continues to neo-colonial military exports, from Mali to Niger even into the United Nations with its fourth UN Peacekeeping boss in a row, Herve Ladsous. From exports of this kind back up to shady banking practices, il y-a des problemes. Watch this site.

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