Magazine article American Banker

BancWest Contributed Less to Parent in 4Q

Magazine article American Banker

BancWest Contributed Less to Parent in 4Q

Article excerpt

BNP Paribas SA said its U.S. banking unit, Honolulu-based BancWest Corp., contributed slightly less pretax income and revenue as a share of the parent's fourth-quarter results than a year earlier as the flattened yield curve hurt margins.

After several acquisitions in recent years, the $1.9 trillion-asset Paris banking company also reiterated its intention to focus on organic growth for now in the United States, though executives said they remain optimistic about the U.S. market in general.

"For the upcoming few months we'll be focusing on improving the revenue situation, focusing on organic growth more than anything else," Baudouin Prot, the chief executive of BNP, said in an analyst conference call.

"Over and above the difficulties in the interest rate margin," he said, "we remain convinced that the growth rate of the U.S. economy, the population prospects, and the [profit] margin levels in U.S. banking compared to the quality of banking and the risk involved over there will continue to be at a favorable level."

The $67.3 billion-asset BancWest, the holding company for Bank of the West in San Francisco and First Hawaiian Bank in Honolulu, has completed three U.S. deals since 2004. Its last purchase was of Omaha's Commercial Federal Corp. in 2005.

In the fourth quarter, BancWest's revenue rose 0.6% from the third quarter and 1.7% from a year earlier, to $705 million. Without the Commercial Federal deal, year-over-year revenue would have fallen about 3%, BNP said. …

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