In the storm that shook markets for months and financial groups, online banks are doing better than resist and explained by lower rates, a direct relationship to the client and fewer activities but prosperous.
Small in size despite a decade of activity – they now account for about 3% of French retail banking market – they show high goals and take advantage of the difficulties of traditional institutions – even though they they belong to the essential.
“I feel a momentum carrier. The need to pay less, be more attentive to his charge spring, so when there is a discourse of crisis, it is more favorable to online banking,” said Pascal gave to Reuters, President Fortunéo, number three in the sector with 150,000 customers and 210,000 accounts at end-2010, which expects 600,000 accounts in 2015.
Like its competitors, it recognizes that the big banks “suffer a little” with the debt crisis in the euro area and the need to strengthen their balance sheets.
These problems culminated in a sudden collapse in the stock market in the heart of the summer – Societe Generale sold 61.02% between July 1 and November 21, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole 49.67% 60.14% – and today savings plans.
Boursorama, number two online banking in France, has limited the loss of this period to 26.88%, outperforming the European index of the sector (-34.98%).
In terms of image, “the crisis has two effects for banks in general: there is less patience with the lack of transparency or information and the sector as a whole was manhandled,” observes Marie Ramli, director products and channels at ING Direct.
Responsible for the number one online bank in France with 820,000 customers, however, the crisis “provides opportunities (…) for all”, but the model of online banking is more beneficial.
The crisis “has given us greater legitimacy (…) At first when it comes to transparency, because it shows the pricing, they say clearly what you can do or not do,” said she told Reuters.
“Then in terms of equal treatment of the client. On the site, he found exactly the offers which may be claimed or not.”
Results validate the speech: when collecting life insurance unscrewed, ING Direct grew by 8% at end-June
Boursorama saw its net inflows drop in third quarter compared to 2010 (-62% to 24 million euros), but less sharply than the overall market (-84%) and rose by 17% of deposits on current accounts and 39% for bank savings accounts over the same period.
Online banks benefit from a range of small but deliberately oriented “rather prosperous segments,” according to Pascal gave Fortunéo.
Thus, their brokerage business took off in a period marked by high market volatility.
In the third quarter, Boursorama recorded 1.035 million orders, up 13%, and opened 12,289 new trading accounts (+30%). And ING Direct has doubled its number of orders in August and September compared to 2010.
“Customers mediate their positions, reposition themselves, but do not abandon the market,” said Pascal gave.
Related to Large Corporations
“Challenged by the direct approach,” they come “to test,” said Marie Ramli, especially as they appear, too, a growing appetite for high-banking, according to a survey carried out the BVA 27 and 28 October.
It shows that 38% of the French have used their phone to an operation and that 65% of them are banking applications develop very quickly.
ING Direct, for example, has relied on an application for the Apple iPhone and a partnership with the portal Yahoo! to launch a news channel bank.
Presides over the strategy that shares the competition, besides the DNA of online banking, the desire to strengthen the direct relationship with the client, another claimed advantage of these banks.
“We have a more compact structure, so we did not all the weight of a traditional bank. The traditional customer of a bank has less and less ability to have a partner that has a capacity of decision,” recalls Inès Mercereau, CEO of Boursorama.
She refuses, however, a rival of the main banks that online retailers are closely linked: ING Direct ING belongs to the Dutch, Boursorama at Societe Generale to 56% and 21% Caixa Bank and Crédit Mutuel Fortunéo.
If no does not hide, no one exhibits.
“I do not necessarily advertise it because the first thing to do was to establish the brand,” Inès Mercereau justified.
As for Pascal gave it considers that “it is no longer in (the) explain (…) Everyone understands that online banks are owned by large corporations.”