Responsibly preparing our customers’ future - an interview with Marie-Christine Ducholet, Head of Societe Generale retail banking in France
Faced with the digital revolution and newcomers to the market, Société Générale is combining innovation and responsibility to stand out from the crowd. Marie-Christine Ducholet, Head of Societe Generale retail banking in France, explains what this means for Société Générale’s customers, employees and partners.
How do you manage to combine technological innovation and responsibility in your activities?
Technology and innovation are excellent opportunities to create value for our customers, colleagues and stakeholders as long as we act responsibly. Above all, this means protecting our individual, professional and business customers, especially against cyber-risks, by guaranteeing our vital role as a trusted third party. This also means reaffirming the bank’s role in society by supporting our customers’ plans to prepare for the future.
In terms of employees, this means major investments in training and change management to help them better understand the culture of innovation and of new technology on which our services are currently based and will be based in the future.
The volume of data is rocketing and cybercrime is on the rise in a context in which everyone expects instant and seamless service. How is Société Générale tackling this challenge?
We have a lot of data, and the number of transactions made via our mobile app is growing – each month, our users log in over 70 million times! We invest more than €200m per year in protecting data and combating cybercrime. Online fraud has been reduced by 37% in three years. Using artificial intelligence, we’re able to detect suspicious behaviour in real time, including instant transfers.
Société Générale is also investing in cybersecurity for micro-enterprises and SMEs with Oppens...
Oppens is a startup launched as part of our Group intrapreneurship programme, Internal Startup Call. The startup’s aim is to enable companies to assess their own level of cyber-risk and to offer them solutions that meet their needs in terms of protecting themselves. This offering, which meets a real need for companies, is currently being finalised and is set to be launched by mid-2020. Today in France, almost 80% of SMEs are attacked by cybercriminals at least once a year.
How do you work with the ecosystem of innovative players?
Our strategy is to identify the players that will build the economy of the future. We’ve put in place regional startup representatives, developed a partnership with BPIfrance Innovation, invested in the WeSprint startup accelerator in Montpellier, Toulouse and Marseille, and strengthened our presence within a number of incubators. We’re supporting 2,000 startups, including 200 that have been newly created, through every stage of their development.
The Group has also created Société Générale Ventures, whose mission is to invest in breakthrough activities. Through this, we’ve acquired Lumo, a pioneering crowdfunding savings platform that focuses on renewable energy, and Treezor, a B2B digital banking offering.
The banking sector is undergoing profound change. How are you supporting your employees with this transformation?
We are training our employees in new tools and services so they can be the best possible ambassadors for these to our customers. Our employees have so far taken a total of more than 700,000 hours of training in 2019. We have also implemented participatory processes through hackathons and collaborative platforms for sharing experience. In terms of cybersecurity, we are constantly raising awareness among teams, including through campaigns to raise awareness of phishing and through conferences. And let’s not forget events like TechWeek, which promote innovations and new technology within the Group and make it easier for staff to understand and adopt them. For retail banking in France, we are gradually rolling out the event to our advisers and business customers across France’s regions. It’s been very well received!
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