As a key player in financing the economy, operating in 67 countries, our mission is to offer the best solutions to advise and connect individuals, companies and institutions, in order to support them in the development of their projects, the management of their financial means and their risk coverage. Sensitive to the different stakeholders within our ecosystem, we also strive to ensure the generation of a long-term positive impact on the environment surrounding us.
Frédéric Oudéa, Chief Executive Officer
Protecting the vulnerable
An over-indebted person is vulnerable and should not be granted any further credit. Having said that, access to a bank account and payment methods means they are not totally excluded from society in general. Societe Generale offers a range of alternative means of payment to make the bank easier. Généris, which is available for a modest monthly fee, is the everyday banking package that has been designed to help customers in situations of financial hardship to manage their accounts, in particular through payment methods adapted to their needs and capped costs in the event of an incident.
There is a dedicated system for customers with a serious health risk. At the same time, the Group offers its customers a range of practical and educational tools: an online budget calculator to assess repayment ability, an online educational section about the various types of loans and how they work, a mobile app to follow and manage their budget, etc. In October 2016, on the occasion of the French National Carers Day, Societe Generale supplemented its range of personal insurance policies with the launch of new dependency solutions, one of which is specifically designed to cover the issues faced by carers.
Societe Generale has been expanding its range of pan-African Mobile Banking and Mobile Payment solutions since 2015, with the objectives of bringing traditional banking to its customers and of promoting financial inclusion and access to banking through alternative banking models in addition to its traditional banking model
Preventing over-indebtedness and financial exclusion
Since 2004, the Societe Generale France network has had the relevant resources to identify over-indebted customers in order to be able to offer them a responsible solution.
In 2013, it extended to the whole French network the deployment of amicable settlement platforms, who work with customers in temporary financial difficulty, in order to help them return to a sound situation.
Convinced that a reasonable use of banking products and services hinges on financial education, Societe Generale drawing on the skills of its employees rolls out tools throughout its network in order to help young people and people in difficulty to manage their budgets more effectively. In France, Societe Generale and the non-profit CRÉSUS have devised and implemented a budget education program, which is delivered within the framework of skills sponsorship.
Assisting those with disabilities
Société Générale offers its customers tools and services adapted to their disabilities that allow them simple and practical access to their banking services.
At the end of 2016, 70% of Societe Generale branches and 75% of Credit du Nord Group branches were declared accessible to persons with disabilities. The goal is to achieve full coverage by 2021 (excluding historical heritage buildings).
Supporting SME’s and business creation
Through its network of subsidiaries the Group actively contributes to the development of the economy in the Group entities’ respective countries, offering employment, supporting the creation and development of businesses, and assisting local authorities with their projects. Its subsidiaries and branches fully assume their social and environmental responsibilities and undertake initiatives supporting progress.
Driven by the desire to combine proximity and expertise, all the divisions that deal with SMEs and mid-caps have joined forces to create the new “Societe Generale Entrepreneurs” sales strategy, with the objective of making Societe Generale THE reference bank for entrepreneurs.
In keeping with its global strategy, in the other countries in which it operates the Group strives to forge and maintain partnerships with IFIs in order to offer joint financing solutions and development aid solutions that meet the needs of the local enterprises and economic players (co-financing, guarantees, risk sharing, etc.).
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Solidarity products and services in French retail banking
To develop a solidarity based banking offer, Societe Generale offers new sustainable and responsible products, encourages its customers to develop a solidarity approach and promote microfinance around the world.
As one of the first banks to develop a range of solidarity banking products, Societe Generale forges closer links between customers and social entrepreneurs, and helps them to support their chosen charities and non-profit associations. In 2016, the Bank continued to increase the number of its partner associations and to enhance its range of products and services, available to all its customers – private individuals, professionals and corporates – enabling them to make contributions to a long list of general and public interest associations. Overall, Societe Generale facilitated donations totalling over EUR 1.8 million (including those made through the Environment Business Card) to 49 partner associations in 2016.
Furthermore, a partnership agreement with a solidarity crowdfunding platform SPEAR (Société Pour une Épargne Activement Responsable), a cooperative certified by Finansol that allows companies or charities wishing to carry out a solidarity project to obtain a bank loan thanks to savers who want to give meaning to their savings.
Private Banking incorporated SPEAR into its Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and philanthropy offering in the second quarter of 2016, generating EUR 430,000 in subscriptions.
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Solidarity Products and Services in International Retail Banking and Financial Services
Societe Generale’s international retail banking division offers their customers products and services that meet the highest international standards and that are adapted to suit their needs. In seeking out new customers, the foreign networks contribute to the number of banking products and services available to and used by local communities in countries where the level of “financial inclusion” is still relatively low. The innovative products and services they frequently launch on their domestic markets also make them a source of positive competition for clients.
In International, modelled on the cards offered in France, Societe Generale Morocco is continuing to roll out its SOS Villages d’Enfants charity bank card, thereby supporting the association of the same name, which works towards funding the schooling of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. A solidarity offering was also launched in the Czech Republic in mid-2016.
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Support microfinance at local level
Societe Generale has chosen to focus its microfinance activities in those countries in which it has a presence as a universal bank. It lends its support via its subsidiaries, granting refinancing lines to microfinance institutions (MFIs) in local currency and acquiring minority stakes in MFI. In 2016, the Group granted EUR 120 million microfinance credit lines of which EUR 10 million in France granted to 37 MFIs.
In France, Societe Generale is a partner ADIE (Association pour le droit à l’initiative économique) since 2006, providing refinancing lines for its microfinance activity in mainland France and the overseas departments and territories, and contributing to the financing of its support actions.
Positive Impact Finance (PIF)
Societe Generale is one of the pioneers of Positive Impact Finance in the banking word, which is defined as a new way of financing. It is characterised by financing any activity that verifiably produces a positive impact on the economy, society or the environment whilst ensuring that the potential negative impact has been properly identified and managed.
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Socially Responsible Investment
Societe Generale offers its customers a targeted research service into Environmental, Social and Governance (or ESG) issues, which won the top award in the SRI & Sustainability Research category of the Extel Survey. SRI research differs in that it takes both a quantitative and qualitative approach to ESG factors, paying particular attention to the concepts of “materiality” (financial and market impacts) and “integration” (combination of financial, ESG and economic factors affecting investment decisions).
The total value of SRI products managed by Private Banking at end-December 2016 was EUR 495 million (+57% vs. 2015). SRI assets under management by Sogécap and Oradéa amounted to EUR 59.74 million at 31st December 2016, this represents a nearly 50% growth in AUM compared to end-2015, with the offer having also been extended to include 13 new SRI vehicles.
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