Since the end of 2008, the Banque de France has played a central role as a credit mediator for companies of all sizes having difficulty getting access to bank loans.
In 2011, it launched a quarterly survey of bank financing for very small enterprises (VSEs), and, since 2013, it has extended the coverage of this study through a partnership with the Fédération des centres de gestion agréés (French federation of approved financial management centres).
In September 2016 the Bank stepped up its support for small businesses by appointing a local VSE correspondent in each of France’s 96 départements. These correspondents act as a point of contact with VSEs in their area, and are tasked with understanding their concerns and directing them towards the services and professional networks best suited to their needs. As stressed by the Governor, François Villeroy de Galhau: “(…) the Banque de France is fully committed to supporting VSEs, both at a central level and through its local presence in France’s regions. One of the main advantages of this nationwide network is that it makes it easier to listen to and support local businesses, the majority of which are clearly VSEs.” The Bank has also set up a freephone number to contact your local VSE correspondent: 0800 08 32 08.
Lastly, VSEs and SMEs are to be given access in the near future to OPALE, the Bank’s online business positioning and analysis tool. The service will enable them to assess their financial position, compare performances with their peers and simulate the impact of business decisions (e.g. investment decisions) on their accounts. (+ lien vers page Internet Espace Entreprises).
In 2014, the Banque de France decided to systematically take CSR criteria into account in its company rating system, guided by the firm belief that there is a link between a company’s commitment to its social responsibilities and its financial performance, and hence its risk of bankruptcy.
It initially incorporated CSR criteria on a trial basis, questioning some 4,500 companies on the extent to which CSR is taken into account in their business. The goal was to identify strengths or weaknesses in the quality of individual companies, to support or refine the conclusions derived from the analysis of their financial accounts.
In this way, CSR data collected from companies are incorporated into the assessment of their financial situation and can have a positive or negative impact on their overall rating.
Following the introduction of the territorial reform law in August 2015, which extended the economic powers of France’s regional authorities, the Banque de France has decided to provide greater access to its ACSEL service (economic and structural analysis of the local economy). The service consists in building up an assessment of the businesses in a particular area (region, département, town, etc.) and identifying strengths and areas for improvement in the local economic fabric. The Bank can also provide comparisons with other regions, or analyse a particular sector in a specific geographical area. The information can then be used by local councillors to help define their economic development policies.
The draft Sapin II Law on transparency and the modernisation of the economy proposes giving regional councils the same access to the FIBEN database as credit institutions, subject to strict conditions of confidentiality. FIBEN notably contains ratings for some 250,000 companies with turnover of EUR 750,000 and above, and will enable councils to refine their policy for awarding public grants and advances. It will also allow them to monitor the performance of companies that have benefitted from public funds, and thus measure the impact of their policies.
In 2015, as part of the creation of its future cash management centre in La Courneuve, the Banque de France signed a charter with the local authorities setting out its commitment to fostering local economic and social development, supporting equal opportunities and preventing hiring discrimination. In return, the authorities promised to facilitate the development of the Bank’s activities in the area.
First tangible result: the construction contracts awarded for the centre include 45,000 hours of work for individuals on professional integration schemes. The initiative is being monitored by the Maison de l’emploi (local employment development office) in partnership with the Banque de France, and will help to anchor the Bank’s presence in the region.
Updated on: 12/09/2016 17:06