A shattering announcement, and then nothing. Just a year ago, the employees of the Société Générale group learned from the press of the existence of the proposed merger between the establishment’s branch network and that of its subsidiary Crédit du Nord. Two brands that had hitherto been completely independent. The first is very centralized, mainly geared towards private clients, while the second, made up of nine regional institutions (among them, the Courtois, Kolb, Laydernier, Nuger or Tarneaud banks), has carved out a place of choice among professionals and small businesses. “We were competitors, like with another bank, summarizes Bruno Deschamp, Chairman of the Management Board of the Marseille Credit Company (SMC), one of these nine regional banks. There were no rules against poaching their clients. I would often say: “They are them and we are us.” “
The two houses will now unite, but employees still do not know what their place will be in the new merged bank. “The announcement of the merger in 2020 was an earthquake. Since then, we have no information. We are still waiting for the wave, without knowing what its height will be ”, deplores Franck Torres, insurance specialist for the Tarneaud bank and union representative of the National Banking Union (SNB), CFE-CGC. “We are told: ‘Everything is going to be fine’, but my position already exists at Société Générale. They don’t need me, they don’t wait for me. It is we who are absorbed ”, worries Catherine (the first names have been changed), an executive at the Crédit du Nord headquarters in Paris, who describes a climate “Very anxiety-provoking”.
An apprehension shared by the network opposite. “When they merge two agencies at Société Générale, they do not keep all the teams, says Jessica, client advisor for individuals, in the north of France. So we are concerned about how they will select the employees. “ Karim, technician in a back-office center of the bank in Lyon, struggles with this ” vague “, while “The automation of processes at Société Générale has already led to significant job cuts over the past three years”.
“The seesaw will be violent”
At the headquarters of the banking group, in the high towers of La Défense, management seeks to reassure. “There will be no layoffs or forced mobility”, engages the main architect of the project, Sébastien Proto, its deputy general manager. The establishment has so far revealed very little official information, except by putting an end to the “duplicates” in the same city, between the Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord brands, it will be able to close 600 branches (the new network will grow from 2,100 branches at the end of 2020 to 1,500 at the end of 2025).
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