PARIS (Reuters) -France’s second-biggest listed bank Credit Agricole on Friday posted a 64% jump in net income in the first quarter as pandemic-related provisions for bad loans dropped while capital markets activities recorded a further quarterly rise. The lender joined other European banks which have also been able to rely on bumper trading volumes and lower credit risk provisions in early 2021 to offset low margins on lending. Its cost of risk was down 38.2% in the quarter while revenue in capital markets rose by 17.4%. Revenue was up 13.5% in fixed-income trading, the bank outperforming some European peers like BNP Paribas, Barclays and Societe Generale but lagging U.S. rivals. Credit Agricole’s chief executive Philippe Brassac declined to give guidance on provisions against loan losses but expressed confidence. Brassac told reporters cost of risk was not a matter of stress. The bank said first-quarter net income rose to 1.04 billion euros while revenue increased by 5.6% to 5.49 billion. Credit Agricole sealed last week a $1 billion takeover offer to buy Italian bank Creval in a bid to expand in Italy, its biggest market after France. Asked about ambition in the country, deputy CEO Xavier Musca said the bank has no further M&A plan in Italy.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Marc Angrand; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)