La Banque Postale would consider offering HSBC retail activity in France

According to information from Reuters, the postal group’s banking subsidiary is considering the acquisition of HSBC’s retail activities in France. With this in mind, it would have mandated the British bank Barclays.

In the midst of a management reshuffle, the banking giant HSBC plans to sell all or part of its retail banking activity in France, which employs thousands of people. According to information from Reuters, which relies on sources familiar with the matter, La Banque Postale is among those concerned. The postal group’s subsidiary would thus consider making an offer for HSBC’s French retail activities.

Also according to Reuters, the French establishment would have mandated the British bank Barclays to conduct preparatory work upstream of a sale scheduled for early next year. Neither La Banque Postale nor Barclays agreed to comment on this information, while HSCB confined itself to confirming that its French retail activities were effectively reviewed.
3,000 employees in retail activities in France

La Banque Postale is itself currently at the heart of a vast state-led operation by which it will take control of CNP Assurances in order to create a public pole in banking and insurance geared towards French rural areas .

HSBC has a network of around 270 branches in France and its retail banking activities could be valued between 1.0 and 1.5 billion euros, according to KBW analysts. Of its 8,000 employees in France, around 3,000 work in retail banking.

A source said in October that HSBC had charged investment bank Lazard with the sale of its retail banking business in France as part of a plan launched by interim CEO Noel Quinn to achieve overall savings of the British banking group.
Degraded profitability

This disposal project is however complicated by the deterioration of the profitability of this activity due to the low interest rates but also by the possible need for an in-depth restructuring on the part of the future buyer.

HSBC France continues the strategic review of its retail bank but has decided “in parallel to engage in a dialogue with financial institutions interested” in this activity, wrote Jean Beurnardeau, managing director of the French subsidiary of the British bank, in a email sent to employees this month and seen by Reuters. This strategic review also concerns activity with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), adds Jean Beurnardeau in this message.

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