François Villeroy de Galhau: Roads for the future - central bank digital currency (CBDC) and innovative payments

Closing address by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, 2021 Paris Europlace – Studio Gabriel, Paris, 29 June 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
05 July 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be with you today streamed live from Studio Gabriel. I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Paris Europlace for having maintained through the crisis this fruitful dialogue with all stakeholders. Before turning to my main point today, I want to stress the resilience of our French financial institutions, which have played a decisive role in helping our economy weather the crisis. It was popular a year ago to predict a financial apocalypse, and certain Europeans, prone to self-flagellation, are still doing so today, whereas the Americans are more self-confident. The reality speaks for itself: French banks' CET1 was higher at the end of the first quarter of 2021 (15%) than it was before the crisis; their profitability, however still insufficient, has improved sharply in this Q1; in general, French banks are in no way underprovisioned. France and Europe are not facing a "tsunami of bankruptcies", and should, on the contrary, see a strong recovery: cumulative growth of more than 10% over 2021 and 2022. So we need to remain vigilant, but let's stop scaring ourselves. This roughly reassuring situation is in no way a call for complacency and status quo. The Covid-19 crisis is acting as an accelerator for the major structural challenges banks and insurers are facing. These challenges are also putting creative pressure on central banks and supervisors. And I will elaborate today on how to catalyse our efforts together on one "road for the future" towards innovative payments and CBDC.