BPCE banking group headquarters (Reuters)

France's second largest bank is to slash €900m as part of a cost cutting programme to double its profits by 2017.

BPCE, parent of investment bank Natixis, explained the plan is designed to offset a weak economy and tougher regulation.

The lender said the programme will enable the bank to boost net profit to more than €4bn (£3.3bn, $5.3bn) by 2017, up from €2.15bn last year.

Francois Perol, chief executive of BPCE, also said he hopes to make €870m in extra revenue from cross-selling products.

The announcement is a significant move in France's financial community since BPCE is the first of the country's big banks to table a strategic plan following the euro zone crisis and the implementation of Basel III regulation.

BPCE said is looking to further integrate Natixis into its network of 8,000 branches across France - partly by selling Natixis insurance products - while cutting hundreds of jobs across several investment-banking lines.

The lender said Natixis would have a return on equity of 12% from its core businesses by 2017 and derive more than half of its core revenue from markets outside France.

Natixis said it is aiming to boost revenues to €8bn in 2017, up from €6.13bn last year.

The investment bank also projected a Basel III core Tier 1 ratio of between 9.5 and 10.5%, versus 9.9% as of 30, September 2013, and a return on tangible equity - which strips out intangible assets such as goodwill - of between 11.5 and 13%, up from 8.5% last year.

In addition, Natixis announced it was aiming for €75bn in new net inflows by the end of 2017.

The bank is due to present its strategy to investors on 14, November 2013.