The development of the car-leasing operation and its growing importance to Societe Generale show how some European lenders are looking outside traditional banking as tougher capital requirements and record-low interest rates sap returns. BNP Paribas and Banco Santander have also increased their leasing businesses -- from cars to farm equipment to computer systems -- to generate profits without tying up capital.
“This is currently a plus for banking profits,” said Karim Bertoni, who helps manage $7bn at Bellevue Asset Management in Switzerland.
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