Bpifrance does not hesitate to look at the start-up of finance to increase its strike force. From mid-March, the public bank will test a new offer of loans to VSEs, designed with French Fintech Younited Credit, previously specialized in the distribution of consumer credit online.

The company, whose capital bpifrance intends to increase its share, develops a solution allowing the public bank to grant more small loans more quickly. This will first be deployed in Brittany, in the network of mutual bank Arkéa, also with the capital of Younited Credit. Companies with less than 10 employees will be offered € 10,000 bpifrance loans, without guarantee.

A very fast response

"The borrower can have an immediate response at his banking partner if his file is not complex"says Arnaud Caudoux, deputy general manager of the public bank. "The offer will be super-simple with ultra-competitive rates", complete Geoffroy Guigou, co-founder of fintech. Especially since the loans will benefit from the financial support of the regions.

Already active in the guarantee of loans granted by banks to very small companies, bpifrance wishes for some years to settle in the granting of loans for these small companies. In 2017, she launched a small loan offer (Flash TPE) on her website. The bank found, however, that entrepreneurs did not have the reflex to consult it.

100 million TPE credits per year by 2020

Hence its desire to form partnerships with commercial banks, deemed more likely to serve very small businesses. "We are deploying the device in 2019, with the ambition to be present in most regions by the end of the year", explains Arnaud Caudoux.

Already, bpifrance plans to also rely on Younited Credit to distribute loans of 50,000 euros. The latter constituted the bulk of 44 million euros of loans granted to micro-businesses by the public bank in 2018. Thanks to its partnership with fintech and the ramp-up of the loan offer to 10,000 euros, bpifrance hopes to distribute 100 millions of euros of loans per year to very small businesses in 2020.

The objective of the Caisse des Dépôts subsidiary is to help the smallest companies invest in intangible assets. These investments, for example in training or innovation, may be decisive in a time of digital transformation; they are not always financed by traditional banks, which are generally keen to obtain guarantees.

Solenn Poullennec