French banks are robust and are using their own resources to meet the tighter regulatory requirements.
Financial Services Sector in France – The Role Played by Banks
ξ French banks are robust and are using their own resources to meet the tighter regulatory
requirements. They retain a large portion of their earnings in order to comply with the new
capital requirements imposed by the Basel II framework. This impacted on lending: to lend the
same amount of money banks will have to allocate twice the amount.
ξ There are 39,000 branches, 52,000 ATMs, 72 million current accounts, 50 million
customer’s and16 billion payment transactions per year.
ξ The sector is very concentrated. Top French Banks GNP: BNP Paribas (29.2%); Crédit
Agricole (22,8%), Société Générale (17.6%), BPCE (15.6%), Crédit Mutuel –CIC (9.8%),
La Banque Postale (3.5%).
ξ More than half of their revenues come from Retail Banking. Investment Banking (BFI)
was their second highest activity for revenue before Asset Management. This is rapidly
changing due to the European economic and financial crisis.
ξ The largest foreign foreign bank is HSBC with 1 7% GNP followed by Barclays.
ξ The major banking/insurance companies are Allianz (1st in Europe), AXA (2nd in
Europe), and Groupama.
ξ Online banking in France is provided by Boursorama (subsidiary of Société Générale,
(turnover 2012 € 204,2 m) and ING (turnover 2010 € 54,9 m).
ξ Social ties: Banks invest over €150 million nationwide in charitable initiatives. They also
back international charities.
ξ Promoting microfinance: associations across France are now able to find a banking
partner regardless of where they are located.
ξ A leading role in financial education: Since 2004 the FBF has been leading a financial
education and awareness programme for the general public and associations. The “Centre
d’Information Bancaire” (Banking Information Centre) aims to help French people find
out more about financial products and services to better manage their relationship with the
ξ Long-term sponsors of sports events: BNP Paribas supports tennis; Société Générale
supports rugby, LCL backs cycling, the Banques Populaires supports sailing, Crédit
Agricole backs football and the Caisses d’Epargne and Crédit Mutuel-CIC sponsor
athletics. Total sports sponsorship amounts to an average of over €100 million per year.
ξ Support for cultural events and protecting the environment. (I.e. contemporary art and
protecting local heritage). The banking sector invests over € 10 m a year in this area.
Latest export opportunities in Finance and Professional Services sector
Latest export opportunities - France
Getting into the market
The main way of getting to the market is to meet the relevant contacts and to build long term
relationships, as well as:
ξ Attend seminars, conferences, trade fairs
ξ Join the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce (FBCCI) or other Franco-British
ξ Banks are a big user of IT services and consultancies (lawyers, audit, advertising, training
ξ Know both French and British laws and regulations
ξ Be resilient when contacting potential French partners
More about doing business in France
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
Sophie de Bodisco, British Embassy Paris. Tel: +33 (0)144513341 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events –Financial and Professional Services
Forum de l’Investissement et du Placement -11-13 Oct 2012
Actionaria – 18-19 Nov 2012
Financium – 11-12 Dec 2012
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters