Strengthening customer relationships with Open Banking

Published on 05/12/2019

Interview with Philippe Aymerich

Combining the best of digital technology and people, seizing new business opportunities by mixing the Bank's expertise with other players in the economy… these are the possibilities offered by Open Banking, which opens up the Bank to new practices and new ways of interacting with our customers. Philippe Aymerich, Deputy CEO of Societe Generale group, explains further.

How does Open Banking enhance Societe Generale’s innovation and digital strategy?

Open Banking is not an end in itself; it’s a tool to enhance customer satisfaction. In a fast-changing world with the emergence of new entrants and constantly changing technologies and practices, it is crucial for us to adapt and open up our economic model. This includes forming close ties with external players, harnessing their value proposition in order to offer it to our customers.

What business models have been created with Open Banking?

Within the Group, we prioritise two main models: "bank as a platform" and "bank as a service"*. "Bank as a platform" means providing our customers with offers from our external partners in platform mode, as well as our own products and services, similarly to the web giants such as Amazon, Airbnb and Facebook. Beyond a simple catalogue, we must present these offers that complement traditional banking in an appealing and relevant manner, in accordance with needs universes. The real estate universe, for example, by supporting our customers throughout their project, from looking for accommodation to putting them in touch with craftspeople, on top of the usual loan and insurance services.
Simultaneously, "bank as a service" consists in making our products and services available to partners – fintechs, neobanks or e-commerce players – so that they can distribute them to their own customers. This is what’s called "Business to Business to Customer" or "B2B2C".

In what way is technology central to this approach?

To make these models possible, we have to open up our IT system to our partners. Application interfaces allow data or functions to interact with other applications, APIs are pivotal bricks for this open approach. There are currently hundreds of them in production at Societe Generale, with close to 70 of them documented, secure and already available to external players.

In practice, what new services are emerging for customers?

Open Banking has already led to numerous practical examples that make our customers’ day-to-day lives easier! Thus, in retail banking, Crédit du Nord has structured its website like a platform of banking and non-banking products and services, some of which have been designed by external partners in open architecture. On the corporate side, SG Markets, a financing and investment products platform, allows clients to co-construct structured products.
Regarding “Bank as a service”, Treezor represents the most emblematic model. This recent acquisition offers white-label payment services to fintechs and neobanks. Using the same principle, Moonshot-Internet designs contextual insurance products for, in particular, e-traders who distribute them to their clients. The most recent example is that of long-term car leasing and fleet management subsidiary ALD Automotive, which has just signed a partnership agreement with Amazon in Spain, which distributes its leasing offers to its clients.

What are the prospects for Open Banking at Societe Generale?

The Open Banking culture is spreading rapidly. Our teams and our customers can see its appeal! We now need to move up a level by industrialising the approach. This means continuing to open up our IT systems, adapting IT infrastructures, seeking new partnerships or even acquiring new businesses like Treezor.
This inventiveness allows us to go beyond bancassurance and engage customers in very different ecosystems for which we can provide them with our expertise and advice. The Oppens internal startup, for example, will soon launch an offer for assisting client entrepreneurs with cybersecurity. This aggressive approach expands our field of action and enables us to substantially intensify our relationship with customers.

Open Innovation and Open Banking