Announced in December 2020, the merger of the retail banking network of Societe Generale and its subsidiary has been the subject of a letter sent to Crédit du Nord customers in recent weeks. It praises the union of the “history”, the “values” and the “strengths” of the two groups.

It is through this that Isabelle Bouhot, a client since 2016, learned the news which does not worry her too much.

An opinion far from being shared by Bruno Eeckeman, who plans to change banks. “It’s nonsense,” grumbles the entrepreneur for whom “Societe Generale has never been a bank for merchants.”

Pierre Delplanque, a “longtime” customer of Crédit du Nord, is not thrilled either, “Société Générale being a bank with which I have had problems in the past”.

Questioned by AFP, the general manager of Crédit du Nord Jean-Louis Klein nevertheless denies any “backfire” from customers. Among their main questions: the change of adviser, agency and RIB. To respond to this, Societe Generale has put a website online.

– Life in red and black –

The fusion of the two networks is accompanied by a subtle grooming of the logo. The group has opted for the name “SG” to which is associated, by region, the name of the bank of the defunct Crédit du Nord network: SG Courtois, SG Laydernier, SG Crédit du Nord…

In areas historically less covered by Crédit du Nord, Societe Generale has chosen the name of the region: SG South West, SG Auvergne Rhône-Alpes… In the Vosges and Auvergne, the Kolb and Nuger banks are disappearing.

“It’s removing a historical, visual and cultural identity”, comments Marc Durand, Force Ouvrière unionist of the group, “both from customers and employees”.

The troops, who were promised a bonus of 1,000 euros, are also “in the middle of the blues”, according to him. The employees “do not really know what sauce they are going to be eaten.”

Banque Tarneaud, a subsidiary of Crédit du Nord, “had the characteristic of a small institution with which there was a certain proximity”, explains to AFP Michel Noiry, a client who expects to “lose in quality of relationship “.

Jean-Pierre Tisseur, whose accounts are managed by the same subsidiary, had precisely chosen a regional bank for its proximity. “I don’t know if I will find it with a large banking group which, I think, does not have the same culture or the same objectives,” he wonders.

Customers in Ile-de-France and Corsica inherit a redundant Societe Generale SG.

– Grande migration – 

The project is led by one of the right arms of the general manager of Societe Generale: Sébastien Proto, classmate of Emmanuel Macron’s promotion at ENA and disappointed candidate at the head of “Socgen”.

It concerns all of the two million Crédit du Nord customers, who are generally less urban and more affluent than those of the parent company.

The legal merger is scheduled for January 1, 2023 but “the important moments are those of the two IT migrations” specifies Mr. Klein, in two stages, mid-March and mid-May.

If savings are expected in the years to come, the bill for the merger is steep: between 700 and 800 million euros.

This merger will be accompanied by 3,700 job cuts, an “effort” distributed between 2023 (about 30%), 2024 (50%), 2025 (20%). No departure will be forced, promised the group.

The bank puts forward in its letter concrete elements, such as the multiplication by three, thanks to the Société Générale network, of the branches accessible to current Crédit du Nord customers in the territory.

But that argument masks the closure of hundreds of group-wide branches.

The new bank, resulting from the merger between Société Générale and Crédit du Nord, will benefit from a drastically reduced territorial network with 1,450 branches in 2025 compared to 2,100 five years earlier?.