1. BNP Paribas, 2. Crédit Agricole Group, 3. BPCE, 4. Société Générale, 5. Crédit Mutuel Group, 6. La Banque Postale, 7. CIC Banque, 8. Boursorama Banque, 9. Crédit Coopératif, 10. AXA Banque. France has a well-developed banking sector, consisting of major domestic banks, international banks, cooperative banks, and online banks. It has also the highest number of Europe's largest banks. Here are some of the largest banks in France.
- BNP Paribas
- Crédit Agricole Group
- Société Générale
- Crédit Mutuel Group
- La Banque Postale
- CIC Banque
- Boursorama Banque
- Crédit Coopératif
- AXA Banque
BNP Paribas is a global bank with its headquarters in Paris, France, and is one of the biggest banks in that country. The first parent company of BNP Paribas was Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), which was established in 1996. On January 27, 1872, the Banque de Crédit et de Dépôt des Pays-Bas and the Banque de Paris merged to establish Paribas. In 1999, Société Générale started making offers to buy Paribas, and at the same moment, BNP joined the competition. It was officially established in 2000 by the union of two significant financial institutions, Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Paribas. Today, the bank’s three primary businesses are retail banking, investment banking, and investment solutions.
The bank has a presence in 65 countries and territories on 5 continents, with France, Italy, and Belgium accounting for the majority of its market share. Not only a leading bank in Europe, BNP Paribas is also one of the largest banks in the world. In 2019, BNP Paribas was ranked 13th by the British monthly The Banker among the leading 1000 banks in the world along with 3 other French banks by equity.
According to the list of top 50 biggest European banks in 2022 by S&P Global Market Intelligence, BNP was the largest bank of France with its total assets amounting to €2,554.20 billion, followed by Crédit Agricole (France) and Barclays PLC (UK). In 2022, its market capitalization amounted to roughly €65.7 billion.
Headquarters: Paris, France
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Crédit Agricole Group
The 1894-founded Crédit Agricole Group, which consists of 39 regional banks, Crédit Agricole S.A., and other subsidiaries, is a coherent but decentralized organization. It consists of the investment bank Crédit Agricole CIB, the old Calyon, and Crédit Agricole, a semi-cooperative retail bank that is majority held by 39 French Caisses Régionales de Crédit Agricole Mutuel.
It is one of the largest banking groups in Europe and operates in various areas of banking, including retail banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management, insurance, and specialized financial services. The group provides a wide range of financial products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, both in France and internationally.
Over the full year 2022, the Group recorded more than 1.9 million new customers in retail banking, and the customer base continued to grow while the net income Group share amounted to €8,144 million. Total customer assets rose by 1.8% year on year to €854.9 billion at the end of December 2022. With the goal of becoming Europe’s top 5 leaders in long-term leasing, Crédit Agricole Group and Stellantis plan to form a pan-European long-term leasing partnership. CA Consumer Finance and Stellantis will jointly own the venture, aiming to manage a fleet of over one million vehicles by 2026. In 2022, its total assets were €2,351.61 billion, making the bank the second-largest in France.
Headquarters: Montrouge, France
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BPCE Group, officially known as Banque Populaire Caisse d’Epargne, was formed in 2009 through the merger of two cooperative banking networks: Groupe Banque Populaire and Groupe Caisse d’Epargne. This merger created a powerful banking group with a broad range of services and a widespread presence across France. BPCE Group is a major banking institution in France. It is one of the largest banking groups in the country and holds a prominent position in the French financial sector. The bank was the third-largest French bank and the sixth-largest in Europe in terms of total assets in 2022, with an amount of €1,516.02 billion.
The group operates through its two main subsidiaries: Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne. Banque Populaire focuses on serving retail customers, professionals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and mid-cap companies. Caisse d’Epargne, on the other hand, primarily serves individual customers, local authorities, and large corporate clients. As a cooperative group, BPCE Group is structured as a federation of cooperative banks. This cooperative model enables a participatory approach where customers have a voice in the bank’s governance and decision-making processes.
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Société Générale is one of the largest and most prominent banking institutions in France. Founded in 1864, it has since grown into a global financial services group with a strong presence in Europe and around the world. The French bank’s original full name was very long: Société Générale pour Favoriser le Développement du Commerce et de l’Industrie en France, or “General Society for the Advancement of Commerce and Industry Development in France”. Retail banking in France, international banking and financial services, corporate and investment banking make up the firm’s three primary pillars today.
Société Générale is committed to responsible banking practices and sustainability. The Société Générale Group set a new contribution target for sustainable finance of 300 billion euros through 2025 and the bank had already surpassed the $100 billion threshold before the end of 2022. It has also carried out a number of sectoral efforts, including taking a leading position in fast-growing economies like hydrogen and participating actively in market coalitions aiming to create a uniform financing framework for steel, aluminum, and aviation.
The Société Générale bank has produced impressive performance for many years and consistently ranks among the best banks in France. For instance, the bank significantly improved from 2021 to 2022, earning an overall score of 4.87 and the honor of being the best-performing bank among France’s top five lenders in The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks 2022 list. It boasts of 25 million clients, with almost 4.7 million online clients at end-December 2022, generating a net banking income of €28,059 million to a 2022 report. The Societe Generale Group legally merged its two French retail banking networks, Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord, on January 1, 2023. Société Générale is the fourth-largest bank in France by total assets, with assets totaling approximately €1,464.45 billion at the end of 2022.
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Crédit Mutuel Group
The first Caisse de Crédit Mutuel in France was created in 1882 in La Wantzenau, near Strasbourg. It is one of the largest banking groups in Europe and operates in various areas of banking, including retail banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management, insurance, and specialized financial services. Crédit Agricole Group is known for its cooperative and mutualist structure, with a network of regional banks (known as “Caisses Régionales”) that are majority-owned by their customers, who are also members of the agricultural cooperative.
After 130 years, Crédit Mutuel is still one of Europe’s top banks. Crédit Mutuel takes the second spot in the best-performing table, with an overall score of 4.64, up from the third place in 2020. Among France’s five largest lenders, Crédit Mutuel is the only bank to have reported an increase to its Tier 1 capital position in 2021, up slightly from $69.38 billion to $69.59 billion, helping it move up one place to 29th in the Top 1000 World Banks ranking. As of December 2022, the bank held €1,031.3 billion in customer savings and €565.9 billion in customer deposits and had total assets of €1,021.33 billion. In terms of profit, the Crédit Mutuel banking and insurance network generated a net banking income of €3.8 billion in 2022.
Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale increases its operations internationally in addition to being a local bank with a presence across France, with subsidiaries and a network of representative offices and branches in more than 50 countries.
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La Banque Postale
La Banque Postale is a French banking institution that was established in 2006. However, its history can be traced back to the origins of the French postal service, La Poste, which dates back several centuries. La Poste, the national postal service in France, has been providing mail delivery and related services since the 16th century. Over time, it expanded its operations to include financial services such as savings accounts, money transfers, and payment services. In 2006, as part of a broader modernization effort, La Poste created La Banque Postale as its banking subsidiary.
La Banque Postale operates through a network of post offices, utilizing the extensive reach of La Poste. It offers a wide range of financial products and services, including current accounts, savings accounts, loans, insurance, and payment solutions. Since its establishment, La Banque Postale has continued to grow and expand its presence in the French banking sector. It has focused on serving the needs of its customers and maintaining a strong commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
In 2022, it is the sixth-largest French bank by total assets, with an amount of €772.31 billion. By offering quality and accessible services, La Banque Postale’s purpose is to enable everyone to fulfill their potential and to contribute, through their investment, savings, insurance, and consumption choices, to building a society that is more attentive.
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CIC Banque, also known as Crédit Industriel et Commercial, is a major French banking institution. It is a subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, one of the largest banking groups in France. CIC Banque offers a comprehensive range of financial services to individuals, professionals, and businesses. Its offerings include various types of accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance, investment products, and wealth management services.
As part of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, CIC Banque benefits from the cooperative and mutualist structure of the group. It follows a customer-centric approach, emphasizing local decision-making and a close relationship with its customers. CIC Banque has a long history, tracing its roots back to the 1859 establishment of Crédit Industriel et Commercial. Over the years, it has expanded its presence and diversified its offerings to meet the evolving needs of its customers.
CIC Banque is a prominent financial institution with an impressive customer base of 5.5 million individuals as of December 31, 2021. With a strong presence and a commitment to customer satisfaction, CIC has established itself as a trusted provider of banking services. Employing a dedicated workforce of 19,400 professionals, the bank ensures that its customers receive exceptional service and personalized attention. Operating through an extensive network of 1,781 branches throughout the country via 6 regional banks, it offers convenient access to its comprehensive range of banking products and services. The bank’s total assets were €32,812.00 million in 2022.
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Boursorama Banque is a French online bank that was formed in 1995. It started as a financial news website called “Boursorama” which provided information and analysis on stock markets, investment opportunities, and financial news. Over time, Boursorama expanded its services to include online brokerage and trading services, catering to individual investors and traders. It gained popularity for its comprehensive financial information, analysis tools, and user-friendly online platform.
In 2006, Boursorama launched Boursorama Banque, its online banking division. Leveraging its expertise in finance and technology, Boursorama Banque aimed to provide a full range of banking services through digital channels, offering an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
Today, Boursorama Banque is one of the leading online banks in France, serving a large customer base with its digital-first approach. It continues to innovate and expand its offerings, providing customers with convenient, accessible, and user-friendly banking solutions.
Headquarters: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
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Crédit Coopératif is a French cooperative bank that specializes in providing banking services to individuals, businesses, and organizations with a social or environmental mission. It was established in 1893 and operates with a cooperative and ethical approach.
One of the key principles of Crédit Coopératif is its commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The bank aims to support sustainable development and promotes responsible finance practices. It invests in projects and initiatives that have a positive social and environmental impact. Crédit Coopératif operates through a network of branches across France, ensuring accessibility for its customers. It maintains a cooperative structure, with members who have a say in the bank’s decision-making processes and participate in its governance.
As a pioneer in the field of ethical banking, Crédit Coopératif has built a solid reputation for its commitment to social and environmental values. It serves as a financial partner for organizations and individuals seeking to align their banking activities with their social and environmental goals.
In the first half of 2022, Crédit Coopératif recorded a net interest income of €113.84 million, showing a slight decrease compared to the previous year’s figure of €19.46 million. Additionally, the bank’s net income for the same period amounted to €22.79 million, representing a notable increase from the previous year’s €13.99 million. As of June 30, 2022, the bank reported total assets of €25,561.71 million.
Headquarters: Nanterre, France
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AXA Banque is the banking division of AXA Group, a multinational insurance and financial services company headquartered in France. AXA Banque offers a range of banking products and services to individuals, including savings accounts, current accounts, mortgages, consumer loans, and insurance products. AXA Banque operates as an online bank, providing customers with the convenience of digital banking services. Customers can access their accounts, make transactions, and manage their finances through online platforms and mobile applications.
The bank focuses on providing a comprehensive suite of financial solutions to meet the diverse needs of its customers. In addition to traditional banking services, AXA Banque offers investment products, retirement planning solutions, and insurance products for individuals. AXA offers in France a full range of insurance products, including life & savings, property & casualty, and health. Its offering covers a broad range of products, including motor, household, property and general liability insurance, banking, savings vehicles, and other investment-based products for both personal/Individual and commercial/ group customers, as well as health, protection, and retirement products for individual and professional customers.
While AXA Banque primarily operates in France, AXA Group has a global presence, serving customers in numerous countries around the world. The bank’s offerings align with AXA’s broader strategy of providing comprehensive financial solutions to individuals and businesses, integrating insurance and banking services to meet their evolving needs. As of December 2022, AXA Banque generated gross revenues of €29,338 million. In 2022, its total assets were €17,057.48 million.
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