July 2, 2012 / 12:33 PM / 5 years ago

BNP looks at asset reshuffle to fill funding gaps

PARIS, June 18 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas is considering relocating some international activities to deposit-rich markets like Belgium, according to a spokeswoman for the bank, as BNP and other French banks scramble to fill funding gaps on their balance sheet.

Banks like BNP and Societe Generale are looking to better match loans to deposits after the virtual evaporation of once plentiful short-term funding from credit markets.

By moving assets around its international chessboard, BNP would likely be able to reduce its own intra-group lending lines to euro zone troublespots like Italy and Spain, analysts say.

“The move of certain financing activities to Belgium is among options being considered by BNP Paribas, which is always looking to optimise its organisation and funding structure,” a BNP spokeswoman said.

BNP has a 20 billion-euro ($25 billion) surplus of deposits in Belgium, one of its key markets since its rescue of Fortis at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008.

Another potential market for asset relocations is Switzerland, where there is a 10 billion-euro surplus, say analysts briefed by BNP’s chief financial officer Lars Machenil. The CFO mooted moving commodity finance operations into Switzerland, they said.

Shares in BNP were up 4.8 percent at 31.79 euros at 1303 GMT, when the STOXX 600 Europe banking sector index was up 1.9 percent. ($1=0.7880 euros) (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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