Banks accompany companies internationally

Banks have adapted for export services formerly reserved for large groups for SMEs and midcaps. Benefits that allow them to differentiate themselves while showing the extent of their network outside France.

Pau, Angers, Nantes, Aix-en-Provence or Nancy … Since the beginning of the year, Societe Generale has organized about thirty information meetings on export. The bank, which boasts a leading position in the international business market, brings experts from its sixty subsidiaries to answer questions from SME and ETI executives. To better support them, it has also entered into partnerships with Business France.

But the red and black bank is far from the only one to have set up international support in priority. “For many companies, exporting is no longer an option, it is an obligation, says Hélène Decreton, head of international development at Crédit Agricole Nord de France, the most active fund in terms of trade. Companies in our border region do not need much support in Northern Europe, but are very interested in our meetings in more distant areas such as India or China to which we invite prospects. ” banks, export services can show the extent of their network outside France, but they are especially a good theme to differentiate between them.

“We made a commitment in 2014 to bring a thousand companies to the world every year for the first time”

Denis Laplane, director of corporate clients at BNP Paribas

“We made the commitment in 2014 to bring every year a thousand companies for the first time internationally,” says Denis Laplane, director of corporate clients at BNP Paribas. The bank, which has created a dedicated information site where one can, for example, calculate customs duties, has since exceeded its forecasts each time. Like its competitors, the group has made efforts to facilitate the linking of international experts with regional officers.

In addition to the management of documentary credits, currency hedges or factoring contracts, banks can go as far as assisting with the creation of subsidiaries. “We can do market research, look for commercial or industrial partners and even recruit teams,” says Denis Laplane, who claims 250 clients a year for BNP Paribas Trade Development. This is less than the clientele of Pramex International, the equivalent service of the Caisse d’Epargne and Banques Populaires networks, used every year by nearly a thousand companies, making it the French leader, ahead of CIC’s Aidexport, HSBC Global Connections or Altios International, partner of Crédit Agricole.

Where banks have made real efforts, it is on the adaptation of products previously reserved for large groups: factoring and credit insurance. The Charpin report of the Finance Inspectorate found in early 2013 that these cash management and risk protection tools were too complex and too expensive for SMEs. “We estimate that the penetration rate of credit insurance is 50% for large groups, but this figure is only 20% for midcaps and well below 5% for SMEs,” says Cyrille Charbonnel, director Western Europe, and France in Coface. To reach this last target, the main credit insurer is working on partnerships with banks, which would become business introducers. The agencies will even be able to offer a simplified offer developed by Coface in the future. The Savings Banks and the Banques Populaires will be the first to do so. Euler Hermes, the world leader in credit insurance, has signed with Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and HSBC France to distribute its products to as many people as possible.