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Fidor founder leaves as parent bank plots future

The founder of digital challenger bank Fidor leaves company as traditional banking parent company tries to sell business

The future of digital challenger bank Fidor is still unclear as the CEO and founder leaves the company as its parent bank attempts to sell the business.

CEO Matthias Kröener is leaving the company after 10 years. Fidor was put up for sale by French banking giant BPCE in November last year.

Fidor was one of the earliest digital challenger banks. It was launched in Germany in 2009 and went on to gain a banking licence in the UK in 2016. It quickly gained momentum, through its disruptive tech driven business model, before being acquired by BPCE.

“My biggest thanks go to all the employees,” said Kröener, following the announcement he was leaving. “They have always worked with all their heart and self-sacrifice for the Fidor vision, and together we have certainly written a piece of banking history.”

In February, Kröener told Computer Weekly that that the split with BCPE was close. “We are entering the last mile. We will have a clear understanding of our future in March,” he said at the time.

BPCE, which is the result of a merger of two centuries-old French banks, acquired Fidor in July 2016.

At the time of the acquisition BPCE chairman, François Pérol, said: “This is a key step in the acceleration of the digital transformation of our group. It further demonstrates our commitment to innovation, to developing a customer-centric approach enabled by digital banking technology, and to being more involved in the digital and mobile banking field.”

BPCE has over 35 million customers, more than 100,000 staff and thousands of branches in France.

However, one source said BCPE never really had a strategy on how to take Fidor forward. This demonstrates the difficulty integrating two contrasting business cultures.

Fidor has around 380,000 account customers and a growing business-to-business (B2B) service where companies buy its technology to offer banking as a service.

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