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French banks expanding in Poland


Three leading French banks are embarking on major expansions of their branch networks in Poland and/or making a push into new services, in a drive to lift their modest shares in the country’s financial services market, Puls Biznesu reported. Their efforts will be backed up with large-scale marketing campaigns.

Thus, Credit Agricole plans to add 30-40 new branches this year, as part of a plan to increase the network to 600 outlets from 440 at the moment. Furthermore, it will move beyond its current concentration on consumer finance, with a strong parallel focus on mortgage loans and business lending. At the same time, most branches will be rebranded to Credit Agricole, while Lukas, the consumer finance brand, will be preserved at shopping centres.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas aims to open 100 new branches to its network by 2015 (including 30 this year), taking the total to 330 outlets, as it seeks to break into the top 10 of Poland’s biggest banks. In retail banking it will focus on mortgage, consumer and car loans and savings accounts, targeting three customer segments, from middle earners up to affluent individuals who are also clients for private-banking and wealth-management services. In corporate banking it will focus on mid-sized companies, building on the traditional strength of Fortis, the Belgian group which it acquired.

And Societe Generale will turn Eurobank, its Polish consumer-finance arm, into a more universal retail bank. Although there are no plans for new branch openings – Eurobank's network is already big at 520 outlets – it is possible that existing branches will be expanded.

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