The rumors were true. The BNP Paribas group has just acquired an online bank, and it is not (yet) Orange Bank. In advanced discussions for several months, the banking group, Casino and Crédit Mutuel have agreed to sell 100% of the shares for 258 million euros. Casino and Crédit Mutuel each held half of the company until then.
In October 2020, the online bank changed its name to Floa Bank. Today, it operates in France, Belgium and Spain. It has no less than 3 million customers according to its management. This figure may seem high, but it corresponds in particular to the customers of Casino or Crédit Mutuel who wanted to use Floa’s flagship service: payment in instalments of 3 (or 4) times.
BNP Paribas is also eyeing this speciality of the online establishment. A way to further strengthen its presence in mobile banking offers. Today, the group already owns the Nickel bank as well asHello bank!
The fractional payment is in the spotlight in France
For the moment, nothing has been done yet for the resale. The agreements of the European Central Bank as well as the French Competition Authority are necessary. The green light and the acquisition will be effective in the coming quarters. However, BNP Paribas will have to move quickly. The group wants to recover Floa’s 25% market share in fractional payments. In the meantime, specialist competition is arriving at full speed.
In France, deferred payment consumer credit services are in the spotlight and Floa says it finances “more than two billion euros worth of goods and services each year”. Its fractional payments are particularly well received by the 100 partner merchants who offer the bank’s services exclusively.
That said, Alma and Pledg, French fintechs that are evolving on fractional payments, are teasing and have the advantage of not being attached to a bank. Even more threatening, the Swedish fintech with 90 million users, Klarna, has just set up shop in France and nothing can stop it. The objective of each is to build customer loyalty and make the application its payment application.
Thierry Laborde, Deputy CEO of BNP Paribas, reacted in a press release by explaining that “Floa could launch a second phase of its development in France and Europe, particularly with merchants and e-retailers” . Making the payment solution available everywhere will be essential. Nothing has been added about customers, but they should not know about Floa.The transaction is expected to take place soon.
With this transaction, BNP Paribas has found a way to strengthen its credit business. A more comprehensive partnership was signed with Casino to become “the exclusive provider and distributor of consumer credit, including fractional payment solutions”. The e-commerce platform Cdiscount, which is owned by Casino, has converted many customers.
Supermarkets as well as Monoprix and Franprix will also be brands that will allow the group to capture transactions. In July, Floa proposed a special offer for a mobile package RED by SFR, for a payment in 4 times.