French banking giant BNP Paribas has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to acquire 95% stake in Financière des Paiements Électroniques (FPE) that owns neo-banking startup Compte-Nickel.

However, the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The new alliance between FPE and BNP Paribhas is expected to fuel the second phase growth of Compte-Nickel.

Compte-Nickel plans to speed up the acqusition of new customers and targets to achieve a total of two million accounts by 2020.

The bank witnessed over 540,000 accounts openings in France over the past three years. It provides digital processing and real-time treatment of payment transactions.

FPE chairman Hugues Le Bret said: “In order to pursue our new ambition, joining forces with a top-rank financial player was a matter of course.

“As a partner of choice for startup companies, BNP Paribas was immediately able to grasp the relevance of our positioning, our need for agility in developing our business model, and the resources required to drive our growth.”

The finalization and execution of the transaction agreements will be subject to the relevant regulatory authoritations.  

BNP Paribas Group deputy chief operating officer Thierry Laborde said: “By making this investment along French Buralistes, BNP Paribas is further extending its partnership range, both in terms of service and customer.”

In February, BNP Paribas announced that it would invest €3bn ($3.2bn) in digital transformation initiatives, to improve operational efficiency and profitability.

With a presence in 74 countries, BNP Paribas is a major European bank with more than 192,000 employees.

Image: Compte-Nickel witnessed over 540,000 accounts openings in France over the past three years. Photo courtesy of BNP Paribas.