French banks regret the unilateral implementation in France of a special tax on bonuses. French banks were the first to implement variable compensation for financial market professionals and are an example, as they are currently the only ones to have applied all the regulations issued for 2009 by the G20 (deferral of variable compensation payments, introduction of a bonus-malus system, etc.) through professional standards established by agreement with the Government and supervised by the French Banking Commission (Commission Bancaire).
French banks pointed out that the French banking system weathered the crisis well overall and did not require Government bailouts, contrary to other countries. For example: in the UK, a number of major establishments had to be saved from bankruptcy. In France, the temporary financial support measures to the economy deployed in the autumn of 2008 have not dragged down the Government budget and have generated over EUR 2 billion.
The French Banking Federation (FBF) fears that the proposed tax will heighten competition further in the French financial centre, where there is an existing tax on salaries. The FBF is urgently asking the Government to ensure that French banks are not at a disadvantage to their peers. The FBF stresses that from an efficiency, equality, and healthy competition standpoint, the rules must be the same for everybody. International rules only make sense if they are applied in the same way by all the major financial centres.
The FBF notes that the financial and banking regulation bill is in keeping with the major lines adopted by the G20, namely under the impetus of France, and is consistent with the recommendations of French banks, in respect of the monitoring of trans-border banking groups. The FBF is favourable to the creation of homeloans covered bonds, which should facilitate refinancing of housing loans by banks and improve loan offerings to households.
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