The First in France: BNP Paribas

Global Finance, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

The First in France: BNP Paribas


INTERNET BANKING AND E-FINANCE

BNP Paribas, a major retail bank in France, distributes its products and services to 6 million individual customers and to 450,000 businesses and self-employed professionals, through its 2,ioo branches and via

its Internet and telephone distribution channels. Historically a partner of the business community BNP Paribas serves one third of the universe of small and medium-size companies and most of the larger corporations based in France.

The BNP Paribas group is a major e-- finance player in France, with more than 330,000 individual clients online, for whom it provides checking account balances; card input/output; transaction details; transfers; downloads of account information to Money, Quicken, or Excel software; check orders; interactive stock portfolio evaluation; trading on the Paris, London, Frankfurt, NYSE, and Nasdaq stock exchanges; order tracking; and purchase of BNP's mutual funds. Corporations can access their statements as well as execute unit transfers (allowing immediate orders or deferred transfers, as well as transfer lookup), financial market transactions (allowing placement of mutual funds, SICAV, and market rate information access), subscription and redemption orders, and banking and financial information systems.

CONSUMER E-SERVICES

The www.bnpparibas.com site offers access to BNP Net, which was launched in April 1997 and was the first home Internet banking service in France. With more than 277,000 subscribers and 900,000 accounts, BNP Net controls 30% of the market for online customers in France. According to the bank, Web site activity reports go,ooo transfers, go,ooo stock orders, 3,500 e-mails a month and more than 3 million page hits monthly. The average user connects to BNP Net twice a week. The Web site will soon have new features, such as direct debits, life insurance contracts, simulations, alerts, discount prices on selected items such as personal finance software, stock transaction management, tax issues, stock alerts, as well as alerts for excess overdrafts and limit orders.

Ongoing work within the Cyber-- COMM consortium will make it possible to reinforce the security of the payments system. This standard service is suitable for the majority of BNP Paribas clients; for more sophisticated service the bank recommends online broker e-cortal, a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas.

E-cortal (www.e-cortal.com) ranks number one in France and the sixth largest in Europe in terms of number of clients. It specializes in the sale of individual savings products to private customers using direct marketing methods as well as the Internet, Minitel videotex service, and the telephone.

Its French and foreign customers have access to mutual funds and the principal stock markets, including Paris, NYSE, Nasdaq, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, and Zurich. In addition, customers have access through the Web site to a wide range of services previously restricted to institutional investors, including quotations and warrants.

The bank had 82,5oo accounts for all electronic media at yearend 1999,51,000 of them online, representing an increase of 65% over the prior year. In early 2000 the service saw accelerated growth, with 73,000 online accounts, a 103% increase over the prior year, and 88% of trading orders placed online, representing 75% of e-cortal's activity over the Internet.

The bank's goal is to more than double the number of online accounts.

BNP Paribas is active in the lending services through Cetelem, an off-line service that is a major player in the French market. With www.cetelem.com and www.cetelem.net, the company wants to ensure the commercial development of direct sales, the development of its Card Aurore credit card, and to offer online credit at e-commerce sites, portals, partner banks, and insurance companies. Carte Aurore is now compatible with France's main secure payment systems and is the only private-label card to have established a position in e-commerce.

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