Commercial real estate lender granted licence

by Melanie Mingas20 May 2019

APRA has granted a foreign ADI licence to one of Europe’s largest financial services organisations, under the Banking Act 1959.

Société Générale – the third largest bank in France – is now authorised to operate in Australia. The multinational investment bank will focus on commercial real estate finance in addition to energy, metals and mining, infrastructure financing, bond issuance and securitisation.

The bank has ruled out a retail real estate finance operation in Australia although it is expected to focus on funding renewable energy projects.

In a statement provided to Australian Broker, the bank said it is looking to leverage its international presence in the local market.

“Following the authorisation from APRA as a foreign authorised deposit taking institution, Société Générale will be looking to leverage the strength of core and global expertise in a number of areas including energy, metals and mining and infrastructure financing, together with enhanced product and service offerings such as bond issuance, securitisation / asset backed products, and real estate finance.

“Our real estate finance will focus on commercial real estate and will not include a retail offering,” the statement said.

This isn’t the first licence Société Générale has held for Australian operations. The bank was active here until 2013, when it took to decision to service Australian customers from Hong Kong.

Today, the bank is present in 67 countries and counts 31 million customers.

In February this year, Société Générale’s announced via its financial results that it plans to reduce costs by €500m and French newspaper La Figaro reported that 1,500 jobs (7.5% of the total workforce) could be slashed in the corporate and investment banking parts of the business. However, the bank said it wasn’t possible to comment, when pressed by the AFP news agency.