BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions has begun the
full withdrawal of its Fortis business from the UK market as the
bank begins adapting for Basel III legislation.

Jean-Laurent Bonaffé, the French bank’s chief
operating officer for retail banking, the division which
encompasses leasing operations, announced Thursday 22 September
that the bank would be withdrawing its leasing operations from the

However, speaking exclusively to Leasing
, deputy general manager of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions,
Jean-Francois Gervais clarified only the operations acquired in the
group’s acquisition of Fortis in 2008 would be completely wound

Addressing shareholders at a BNP Paribas
presentation in Paris, Bonaffé had said that the company intends to
exit the non-core leasing areas of real estate and yacht and
private jet leasing, as well as countries where there is not
sufficient scale and named Hungary, Switzerland and the UK.

The decision to reduce the business was made
in the first quarter of this year and is already being implemented.
Bonaffé then added the process would be completed by the end of

On Friday 23 September Gervais said BNP
Paribas’ UK vendor finance business was among the most profitable
in Europe and would not be affected by the changes and stressed BNP
Paribas has no plans to exit the UK in these areas.

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In his announcement to shareholders COO
Bonaffé said: “Basel III has a strong impact on the leasing

“Outside our domestic networks, some of these
businesses are not adapted to Basel III; they rely on distribution
organisations that will not allow re-pricing.

“It is key to adapt as soon as possible. It is
a big change for leasing but the sooner you are ready for a new
regulatory environment the better off you are.”

Bonaffé said businesses which lack
cross-selling opportunities and lack re-pricing capacity would be
affected by BNP Paribas’ bid to adapt to the implications of Basel

Gervais said the bank’s leasing operations
across Europe had demonstrated cross selling potential and said
direct sales and vendor finance programmes were a great opportunity
to cross sell retail banking products.

He said as an example 35% of all dental
equipment in Italy is leased by BNP Paribas which means 35% of
Italian dentists are prospective retail customers.