Traditional Banks can Leverage their Size to Move Faster with Integrating Fintech Solutions Globally, Société Générale Exec Says

Gaelle Olivier, CEO at Societe Generale (EPA:GLE) for Asia Pacific, a French multinational investment bank and financial services company with around €1.3 trillion in assets, argues that traditional banks should not think of Fintechs as direct competition.

Olivier, whose comments came during a CNBC interview, says that we should view new technologies as an “enabler.” She believes that financial technology can improve business models which can help service providers with meeting customer requirements.

She added:

“The challenge is probably a bit different depending on the retail and the commercial banking…on my side, I am on the commercial banking front. And we’re trying to leverage all the new technologies to better source our data [to better serve] our customers. [We want to be] closer to our clients and to facilitate the access of our clients to financing solutions. And that’s what we have done over the past years. We will continue to accelerate these [efforts or initiatives.]”

Olivier further noted:

“We have more than 250 use cases (for modern technologies) that we’re rolling out in our company … worldwide. And I think that there’s a role traditional banks can play which is to leverage their size worldwide to move faster [with implementing various] use cases. [This could be] valuable for clients. So I don’t think [Fintechs] are a direct challenge. I see it as more of an opportunity.”

She also mentioned that Société Générale hires qualified financial technology professionals and offers in-house training programs. She revealed that more than 75% of the institution’s banking processes have already moved to the Cloud. She explained that to achieve this, they had to work with in-house specialists. But the bank also leverages certain capabilities by hiring outside talent, Olivier confirmed.

As covered recently, Société Générale is reportedly expected to shut down 600 branches in France by 2025. This is notably due to the merging of the banking group’s two retail bank networks, Societe Generale and Credit du Nord.

Société Générale further revealed that it will merge the networks to save more than €350 million in costs in 2024 and nearly €450 million in 2025. The banking group also stated its online bank Boursorama was targeting 4.5 million clients in 2025 from 2.5 million in 2020.

In July 2020, Société Générale acquired neobank Shine to better serve clients looking for all-digital services. In May 2020, the bank completed the first central bank digital currency transaction in France.

In February 2020, Société Générale invested €1.1 million in Mutumutu, a Czech online life assurance firm.

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