BNP Paribas SA, France's biggest bank, said second-quarter profit rose 31% as bad-loan provisions dropped to the lowest level since the fall of 2008.
It said net income rose to $2.76 billion, topping the $2.1 billion average of estimates by analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Profits at BNP Paribas' branch networks in France, Belgium and the U.S. rose, more than offsetting a drop in corporate and investment banking earnings. BNP Paribas, like competitors Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had a drop in trading revenue in the quarter as concerns about swollen budget deficits dragged down the bonds of Greece, Spain and Portugal and roiled stock markets.
BNP Paribas' French branch network had second-quarter pretax earnings of $624.9 million, up from $540.2 million a year earlier, the banking company said. The consumer banking unit in Belgium and Luxembourg had a $203.5 million pretax profit, compared with a $33.9 million loss last year.
The U.S. branch network had a $199.6 million pretax profit, compared with an $80.9 million loss the year before. It is seeking "a growth drive in the United States, taking advantage of the group's new size with large clients and consolidating BancWest's return to profit."