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How does the takeover of HSBC’s French branches affect customers?

Former HSBC clients will have to check certain services to spot teething problems during the switch

HSBC’s 244 high street branches in France have been taken over by Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

A new bank has arrived on the French high street – with an old name. 

Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) has taken over HSBC’s 244 high street branches, using the name of a former French bank network that HSBC bought in the early 2000s to turn into its French arm.

How will the change affect former HSBC customers?

CCF, now owned by US global investment firm Cerberus, has retained HSBC’s 800,000 customers and 3,500 workers and is a registered French bank. 

Former HSBC customers will have new RIB bank detail documents and IBANs, and a new website for internet banking and app. Otherwise their services should largely continue as usual.

Many direct debits can be changed over by the bank but for smaller matters, such as sports subscriptions, this might not be possible – these will continue for six months to allow people time to adapt. 

HSBC cards will work for six months, during which time new ones will be sent.

Read more: How bank cashpoints are changing in France

CCF positions itself as ‘high-end’

The banks are mainly located in larger towns and cities, in areas including Ile-de-France, the Riviera and the south-west. 

CCF positions itself as fairly ‘high-end’, aimed at the better-off and professionals, and wants to be seen as being ‘on a human scale’ and concerned for taking care of clients’ wealth.

Problems using foreign mobile numbers for online banking

Some teething problems have been reported to us, including issues with messaging the bank, using cards and using Apple Wallet.

A CCF spokeswoman said the latter related to Apple’s rules and has been resolved. 

Some customers with foreign mobile numbers had not been able to receive texts to set up internet/mobile banking, which meant they needed to contact the bank directly to organise this.

No problems with card use specific to the changeover have been identified, she said.

She added the bank’s main aim this year is stabilisation, as well as to become better known and start to find new customers. 

It sees its role as ‘change within continuity’, as the original CCF, founded in 1917, will be a familiar name to many people in France, with perhaps as many as a quarter of staff and customers still dating from the old CCF period.

Read more: How easy is it to change bank in France?

Customers keep the same adviser

The spokeswoman said they value their ‘international’ customers and have many English-speaking advisers. 

Customers have retained the same advisers in the changeover to CCF. They also have a specific international branch, which largely works at a distance.

The internet banking experience is similar to HSBC, but some upgrades will be added in the coming weeks.

The bank says it hopes to stand out by its capacity to listen to its workers and customers and to react rapidly, continually improving its services. 

Looking ahead, this year will see it offering more mortgages as rates stabilise.

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