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Banks in France

Updated on March 20, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Edited bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Overview of Banks in France

The French banking system is one of the most robust banking systems globally. The banking system in France has built up this stability due to two significant factors:

  • The French banks have a steady loan performance, 
  • Over the years, the French banks have ensured they have had enough capital and liquidity.

According to Moody’s report, the only thing the French banks should improve is their creditworthinessCreditworthinessCreditworthiness is a measure of judging the loan repayment history of borrowers to ascertain their worth as a debtor who should be extended a future credit or not. For instance, a defaulter’s creditworthiness is not very promising, so the lenders may avoid such a debtor out of the fear of losing their money. Creditworthiness applies to people, sovereign states, securities, and other entities whereby the creditors will analyze your creditworthiness before getting a new loan.read more. However, Moody’s investor service expects that the creditworthiness of these banks will evolve within 12 to 18 months.

Another challenge that looms large for the French banks is tepid economic growth. Naturally, this slow growth affects the bank’s revenueRevenueRevenue is the amount of money that a business can earn in its normal course of business by selling its goods and services. In the case of the federal government, it refers to the total amount of income generated from taxes, which remains unfiltered from any deductions.read more, and profit marginProfit MarginProfit Margin is a metric that the management, financial analysts, & investors use to measure the profitability of a business relative to its sales. It is determined as the ratio of Generated Profit Amount to the Generated Revenue Amount. read more. But at the same time, this slow growth has improved the bank’s loanLoanA loan is a vehicle for credit in which a lender will give a sum of money to a borrower or borrowing entity in exchange for future repayment.read more quality and performance.

Structure of Banks in France

The French banking system is quite stable. There are around 400 banks in France and can be categorized into four distinct categories: –

The Bank of France is the most important entity since it acts as its monetary authority. The three major functions of the Bank of France are: –

  •  The Bank of France sets the prevailing interest rates.
  •  It ensures the smooth and swift functioning of the local banking system.
  • It helps in articulating and chalking out monetary and credit policies.

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Digital Banking In France

France’s digital banking landscape features a blend of traditional banks and fintech disruptors, offering digital banking services with a focus on innovation and customer experience. It is experiencing notable growth and innovation. Established banks are actively investing in digital services, offering user-friendly online banking platforms and mobile apps. The country also sees a rise in fintech startups providing specialized digital financial solutions, including mobile payments, peer-to-peer lending, and robo-advisory services. The French government’s initiatives to promote fintech and open banking are fostering a dynamic and competitive digital banking sector.

Our Top Picks For Managing Finances & Borderless Payments

You can explore these online money management services to plan your savings, investments & borderless payments:

Wise
– Multi-currency e-money account linked to debit card

– Fast transfers and no markup rates

– Broad geographical reach across continents in 75+ countries.
Rating 4.3/5
Revolut Business
– Dynamic digital financial and money management platform.

– Multicurrency Business Account for companies and freelancers

– Dominates competitions in terms of innovative features and easy accessibility.
Rating 4.8/5
Qonto
– Digital bank account and cards

– Can set transaction limits for each card

– Operates primarily in France, Italy, Germany & Spain
Rating 4.2/5

List of Top 11 Banks in France

  1. Revolut
  2. BNP Paribas
  3. Crédit Agricole Group
  4. Sociéte Générale
  5. Groupe BPCE
  6. AXA Banque
  7. Crédit Mutuel Group
  8. La Banque Postale
  9. HSBC France
  10. Crédit du Nord
  11. Crédit Coopératif

As per the total assetsTotal AssetsTotal Assets is the sum of a company's current and noncurrent assets. Total assets also equals to the sum of total liabilities and total shareholder funds. Total Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder Equityread more acquired in 2016, here’s a list of banks that top the rankings among 400 top banks in France. Let us have a look: –

Top-Banks-in-France

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Source: Banks in France (wallstreetmojo.com)

#1. Revolut:

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#2. BNP Paribas:

BNP Paribas is one of the top five banks in the world. It has a presence in over 75 countries. As per the total assets acquired, BNP Paribas is topping the ranking list in France. The total assets acquired by BNP Paribas in 2016 were €2077 billion. It was established in 1848, almost 169 years ago. According to the 2020 report, revenue and operating income Operating IncomeOperating Income, also known as EBIT or Recurring Profit, is an important yardstick of profit measurement and reflects the operating performance of the business. It doesn’t take into consideration non-operating gains or losses suffered by businesses, the impact of financial leverage, and tax factors. It is calculated as the difference between Gross Profit and Operating Expenses of the business.read more were €44.2 billion and €8.3 billion. BNP Paribas has headquarters in Boulevard des Italiens, Paris.

#3. Crédit Agricole Group:

As per the total assets acquired, this is the second-largest entity in the French banking system. The total assets acquired by Crédit Agricole Group in 2020 were €2.741 trillion. This entity is quite old, established in 1894, around 123 years ago. It has been reported that revenue and operating income in 2019 were €4.3 billion and €6.17 billion. Crédit Agricole Group has headquarters in Montrouge.

#4. Société Générale:

As per the total assets acquired, this is the third-largest entity banking system in the country. The total assets acquired by Société Générale in 2017 were €2395.4 crores. It was established almost 153 years ago, on 4th May 1864. It is headquartered in Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arrondissement, Paris. The last reported revenue and operating income in 2017 were €23.954 billion and €4.767 billion.

#5. Groupe BPCE:

As per the total assets acquired, this is the fourth largest entity in the French banking system. The total assets acquired by Groupe BPCE in 2020 were €1.768 trillion. Groupe BPCE was created by a mergerMergerMerger refers to a strategic process whereby two or more companies mutually form a new single legal venture. For example, in 2015, ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co and Kraft Foods Group Inc merged their business to become Kraft Heinz Company, a leading global food and beverage firm.read more between CNCE (Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’epargne) and BFBP (Banque Fédérale des Banques Populaires). In addition, It has more than 8,200 branches and has been serving around 70 million customers. It is headquartered in Paris.

#6. AXA Banque:

As per the total assets acquired, this is the fifth top bank in France. The total assets acquired by AXA Banque in 2016 were €975.52 billion. It is relatively a new entity; it was established in 2002. It is an AXA France Assurance SAS subsidiary and serves more than 107 million clients across 64 countries. It has employed around 1,65,000 employees. In 2016, the reported net profit of AXA Banque was €6331 million.

#7. Crédit Mutuel Group:

It is the sixth top bank in terms of the total assets acquired. The total assets acquired by Crédit Mutuel Group in 2020 were €796 billion. It was established in 1882, around 135 years ago. The headquarter is located in Strasbourg, Alsace, mainly providing four kinds of services – corporate banking, consumer banking, insurance services, and private bankingPrivate BankingPrivate banking refers to a type of banking and financial service offered by certain banks only to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). Clients opting for this service are individually assigned a financial representative who personally takes care of their banking needs.read more to France’s customers and foreign customers.

#8. La Banque Postale:

La Banque Postale is the seventh top bank per the total assets acquired. The total assets acquired by La Banque Postale in 2021 were €754 billion. This entity consists of over 10,000 post offices where all corporate and individual customers are served. In addition, La Banque Postale has more than 30,000 workers who serve the customers.

#9. HSBC France:

As per the total assets acquired, this is the eighth top bank in France. The total assets acquired by HSBC France in 2016 were €169.4 billion. HSBC France results from a merger among the Union Bank in Paris, Credit Commercial de France, the Banque de Picardie, the Hervet Bank in Paris, and Bank Beacque. HSBC France headquarters is located in Champs Elysees Avenue, Paris.

#10. Crédit du Nord:

This bank stands at the ninth position as per the total assets acquired. It has acquired total assets of €5587.34 million. Crédit du Nord headquarters is located in Mariehamn, Aland Islands. In addition, it reported the net profit in 2020 as €246 million. It is a relatively smaller entity and part of the Crédit du Nord Group. It has over 785 branches and employs more than 8,700 employees with a client base of 1.92 million.

#11. Crédit Coopératif:

Crédit Coopératif bank is much smaller than the other top nine banks. Nevertheless, it has reported a net profit of €37.5 million in 2019. It is a relatively new entity, established in 1989. Crédit Coopératif employed around 1967 employees. This bank is popular for microcreditsMicrocreditsMicrocredit is a small loan given to people excluded from the traditional banking system. It includes individuals who do not have proven sources of income, good credit history, or collateral to offer during the loan.read more. As per the Microfinance Observatory report, 19% of personal microcredit in France was offered by Crédit Coopératif.

We hope you liked this guide to Banks in France. Here, we provided an overview of the 11 top best banks in France, their structure, and their financial status. If you are looking forward to making a career in banking, then you can check out some of the awesome resources: –