France’s second largest bank, Groupe BPCE, announced the acquisition of innovative online bank, Fidor. The group signed an agreement with the key shareholders, the founders and managers of Fidor Bank AG with regard to the acquisition of their equity interests in the company. The planned acquisition of Fidor is in line with Groupe BPCE's strategic plan “Another Way to Grow” and will contribute to the acceleration of the rollout of the group’s digital strategy. It is a step by BPCE to lead digital banking amid the rapidly changing landscape of financial services, marked by new customer demands and the entrance of digital-only players.
Founded in 2009 by its CEO Matthias Kroner, Fidor is one of the world’s first ‘FinTech Bank’ which is pioneering the collaboration between traditional financial services and technology businesses, having developed an innovative approach to retail banking. Fidor offers a unique proposition by combining an innovative customer experience relying heavily on the involvement of the 350,000 members of its community and an open organization and architecture to foster flexibility and agility.
Fidor has developed, in particular, a proprietary digital banking platform – Fidor Operating System – allowing for fast and easy functionality, enabling the most advanced open API banking. This week, Telefónica announced the launch of O2 Banking, it's mobile-only bank account in partnership with Fidor which uses the API banking infrastructure.
By joining Groupe BPCE, Fidor will be able to capitalize on the support and backing of a solid banking group to accelerate its own growth and international development. With this acquisition, Groupe BPCE is expected to make its move into digital services as most of its customers handle their banking services online.
Francois Perol, Chairman of the Groupe BPCE Management Board said, “This operation constitutes a key step in the acceleration of the digital transformation of our group. It further demonstrates our commitment to innovation, to develop a customer-centric approach enabled by a digital banking technology and to be more involved in digital and mobile banking field. We are very proud and happy to welcome Fidor’s teams, community and clients within Groupe BPCE.”
Matthias Kroner, CEO and Founder of Fidor, commented “In a world of increasing volatility, it is important to be (a) member of a strong group. We are excited to have such a well-established partner as BPCE in the financial world that recognizes the need for a customer-centric and entrepreneurial approach to banking and innovation.”
As part of the transaction, Matthias Kroner will remain a shareholder of Fidor Group and continue as Chief Executive Officer to lead the development and business operations together with the existing management team.
The closing of the transaction will be subject to the customary regulatory change of control approval from the European Central Bank and the BaFin and clearance from the German competition authority and is expected to be completed in Q4 2016.
Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, includes two independent and complementary cooperative commercial banking networks: the network of 18 Banque Populaire banks and the network of 17 Caisses d’Epargne. It also works through Credit Foncier in the area of real estate financing. It is a major player in asset management, corporate and investment banking and financial services with Natixis. Groupe BPCE, with its 108,000 employees, serves a total of 35 million customers and enjoys a strong local presence in France with 8,000 branches and more than 8.9 million cooperative shareholders.
Fidor Bank AG is an Internet-based direct bank, licensed in Germany, with over 120,000 account holders and some 350,000 registered community members. Many private and corporate clients looking for fast, digital banking processes – from opening an account to everyday transactions – use the Fidor Smart current account with its classical and innovative finance apps as their main bank account. Key banking processes can be carried out in 60 seconds. Fidor Bank AG has received many awards for its innovations, most recently from the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a "Global Growth Company" and Celent Banking Model for 2015.