The future of Fidor bank is set to become much clearer next month as the company enters the last mile of the process of decoupling from BCPE.
In November it was revealed that French banking giant BCPE was selling Fidor, the challenger bank which it acquired In July 2016.
CEO Matthias Kröner told me that the split is close. “We are entering the last mile. We will have a clear understanding of our future in March,” he said.
The story was significant as it demonstrated one of the routes the big traditional banks re considering to become digital, and of course the challenges in doing so. The fact that the end of the relationship has already been announced suggests that it is difficult for a large traditional bank to take over and integrate a challenger, digital bank, without watering down its advantages.
Fidor, which was launched in Germany in 2009. It went on to gain a banking licence in the UK in 2016, was an early challenger bank. It quickly gained momentum, through its disruptive tech driven business model, before being acquired by BPCE.
It will be interest to see who takes over Fidor. Whether this be another big bank or a fintech investor.
One source said BCPE never really had a strategy on how to take Fidor forward.
BCPE is the result of a merger of two centuries old French banks, and as a result its culture was not able to truly integrate a company like Fidor.
There could be more big banks taking over digital challengers this year. Sky News recently named Spanish bank BBVA, which invested heavily in UK focused Atom last year, as potentially looking to take over the mobile app based bank.