The new retail bank proposed to be formed by the merger of Crédit du Nord and Societe Generale will serve 10 million clients

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A bank building of Societe Generale in Paris. (Credit: Mohamed Yahya/Wikimedia Commons)

The Societe Generale Group has launched a review to study the prospects of creating a new retail bank in France by merging Crédit du Nord and Societe Generale, its two existing banking networks in the country.

The new retail bank will serve 10 million clients, comprising around nine million individual clients and a million professional and business clients.

The banking group expects the new retail bank to have an even stronger presence in the French market. This will be due to the strong complementarity of the two banking networks in terms of expertise and geographical footprint, said the French banking group.

Crédit du Nord is a banking network made up of nine banks that include Courtois, Kolb, Rhône-Alpes, Société Marseillaise de Crédit, Laydernier, Nuger, and others. It has a network of 679 branches and particularly focuses on catering to entrepreneurs.

Societe Generale, on the other hand, is a generalist banking network with 1,749 branches that are located primarily in urban regions.

The planned merger will be on top of all the other initiatives that were previously announced by the group in its various business lines to bolster its overall profitability.

Societe Generale CEO Frédéric Oudéa said: “The retail banking activities in France are key franchises for the Group.

“After successfully completing the first stage of transformation of our networks, we are launching a new strategic stage, drawing lessons from the health and economic crises and the constantly changing needs of clients, in order to confirm the commercial and financial competitiveness of our businesses.”

What Societe Generale wants to achieve from the study

As per the French banking group, the study must determine, especially, the conditions to launch a regional set-up that would strengthen the power of making decisions at a local level. Besides, it should define the conditions that will help in improving the proximity of service offered to clients, and obtain greater agility and responsiveness.

The study will also explore the conditions for putting in force a single information system. It will be undertaken starting from now till the end of November.

The group said that its online banking subsidiary Boursorama will continue the growth of its alternative model to complete its presence in the French market. As of 30 June 2020, Boursorama had 2.4 million clients.

In late June, Societe Generale acquired Shine, a French neobank that offers a 100% online business account to self-employed and small businesses.