Belgium’s largest bank, French-owned BNP Paribas Fortis, posted a net profit of €3.16 billion last year, the company’s annual results showed on Friday.
The bank's consolidated profit rose almost a fifth (18.8%) higher than in 2021 thanks to “strong growth” in income across all sectors of the bank’s activities. Income reached €9.6 billion – up 17%.
Revenue increases were driven, in part, by higher net interest incomes, supported by rising interest rates and growth in personal and business loans.
The Belgian subsidiary also saw its operating costs increase due to record inflation, rising by 11% to more than €5 billion. The company’s rising costs in Belgium can be explained by the increased development of the bank’s commercial activities, high inflation, and a sharp increase in bank taxes.
Some of these costs were offset by a reduction in the bank’s workforce and an optimisation of its banking network.
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Loans issued to customers increased by 9% and reached €244 billion, while deposits totalled €213 billion, up 2.2% from 2021.
The bank plans to pay a dividend of €5.30 per share on the back of these strong results. Last year, it paid its shareholders €4.58 per share. The dividend will be paid to its French parent company, which holds all of the bank's shares.
Last year, BNP Paribas Fortis announced that it would integrate the Bpost bank brand into its company in Belgium, transferring 308 employees by 2024. This will extend the bank's services to 657 post offices across Belgium, with the capacity to serve another 1.5 million customers.