Sole shareholder of Groupe LaSer since July 2014, BNP Paribas Personal Finance today announced the legal merger of the two groups.

The merger will allow BNP Paribas Personal Finance to bolster its leadership of Europe’s personal loan market.

In France, the reorganisation will span the 2015-2017 period, and will not implement an employment protection plan (no forced redundancies).

The finalised merger project received the go-ahead from the staff representative bodies of both companies in June and was approved by the European Central Bank on 28 August.

Bolstering leadership of Europe’s personal loan market.

The merger leverages the complementary features of the two groups in terms of geography, business models and know-how.

  • In the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, where BNP Paribas Personal Finance was not operating on the personal loans market, the business development of LaSer subsidiaries will be supported by BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s major worldwide distribution agreements and by the diversification of products and distribution channels (automobile, repayment loans, etc.). These countries will be managed as part of a new region reporting to BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s international organisation and the goal is to increase in-process business to the extent of one billion euros within 3 years.
  • In Poland, at the request of local authorities, LaSer’s (Sygma Banque) business activities have been transformed into subsidiaries in order to enter the consolidation scope of BGZ-BNP Paribas. The alliance of Sygma Banque’s know-how in retail distribution, BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s prowess in car loans and the potential provided by BGZ BNP Paribas’ customer base will support the emergence of a significant national player capable of targeting 7% of the market.
  • In France, both groups’ flagship country, the financial companies are merged. The merger will benefit from the complementarities of existing products and distribution channels in each of the direct or intermediated markets (retail, e-commerce, automobile, brokerage, etc.). Customer relationship enhancement and loyalty products and services will be implemented. Know-how pooling is expected to up the market share by 1% per annum over the next three years.
    Financial products will be distributed under the brand names Cetelem and Cofinoga – which remains the lightship name in Galeries Lafayette department stores – and Sygma in the brokerage world. The project ambitions to drive profitable and sustainable growth in a sector undergoing profound change.

“The project is in line with BNP Paribas” determination to make the personal loan specialist business one of the Group’s growth drivers. BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s new consolidation scope in terms of geography and expertise has what it takes to meet this challenge.” states Alain van Groenendael, President of BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

“BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s new structure is going to enable us to deliver a beefed up offering based on our historical mainstays, support householders’ projects and meet the specific needs of partner companies. It was important to rapidly start integrating the activities and expertises. It will enable us to provide a response to all our employees and to plot a path ahead for the new organisation in an iron-clad and aggressively competitive sector.
We are confident in our ability to conduct the merger according to the commitments we have made, with the help of the teams poised to develop this major project, while making the most of BNP Paribas’ know-how in the field. It’s a project that will bring growth and improve our performance” states Laurent David, CEO of BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

In France, the reorganisation will span the 2015-2017 period, without forced redundancies (no ‘PSE’, ‘Employment Protection Plan’).
In the wake of the merger, the new BNP Paribas Personal Finance will be supported by a unified organisation, a pledge of even better service to customers. The Levallois-Perret and Mérignac sites are set to continue sustainably. All systems and processes will be correlated. Personnel movement will be regulated entirely by natural departures and mobility within the BNP Paribas group. By the end of 2017, the headcount will have been reduced (by approximately 10%) without any forced departures. This is a commitment management made to staff representatives immediately following the acquisition in July 2014.
Jean-Marie Bellafiore, recently named Deputy Chief Executive Officer will be directly responsible for French operations in lieu of Laurent David who has been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the BNP Paribas Personal Finance group.

“The arrangements made to support the organisational change and the employees have no precedent. It took the combined effort of all the stakeholders, from the business people to personnel representatives, to define and implement them. Giving ourselves three years to converge towards this organisational target means that we are in compliance with the principles of the BNP Paribas group and BNP Paribas Personal Finance, and that we are accountable both to employees and clients, whether private or corporate. The first half of 2015 marks an acceleration of growth in personal loan production in France of 4.2%, according to the ASF. Our challenge is to confirm these dynamics and make BNP Paribas Personal Finance France a reference for our clients and partners by continuing to contribute to funding the economy” adds Jean-Marie Bellafiore, Director & Senior Executive Vice-President and CEO France of BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

The finalised merger plan received the go-ahead from the staff representative bodies of both companies in June and was approved by the European Central Bank on 28 August.
This project was conceived with a high degree of adhesion and commitment from both companies. It was the subject of in-depth discussion with the personnel representative bodies and trade union organisations of both groups. These discussions drew to an end in late June 2015. Approval from the ECB (European Central Bank) was received on 28 August.

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