BNP Paribas has revealed ambitious plans to become Europe’s bank of choice for corporates in Europe.

GTR attended a conference for international press in Brussels, where BNP Paribas’s chief operating officer Jean-Lauren Bonnafé and head of the bank’s corporate and investment banking arm Alain Papiasse, revealed the plans to become the go-to bank for corporates with growth ambitions in Europe.

The scheme, named One Bank for Corporates in Europe, will see the bank potentially add 3,000 new corporate clients to its list of 160,000 already existing corporate customers.

The focus will rest on subsidiaries of large corporates established in several countries in Europe, and multinationals wanting to set up or develop on the continent.

Trade markets in Germany and the Netherlands are key targets for the bank, as it looks to increase its market share in these countries by competing with major domestic banks such as Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro.

“Germany and the Netherlands are absolutely critical for the development plans of BNP Paribas.”

“These two countries are very big exporters inside Europe and outside Europe, also they are absolutely critical for the development plans of BNP Paribas,” Bonnafé explained.

However, a senior trade finance banker from a major international bank, who has chosen not to be named, recently told GTR that with expansion comes a natural slow-down in a bank’s reaction times and agility in responding to client needs, as processes have to be green-lighted by an increasing number of levels of the bank.

BNP Paribas refuted this though: “This is not a revolution, we do not see that we will lose any agility by expanding,” Bonnafé told GTR.

Thierry Josz, BNP Paribas’s newly-appointed head of global trade solutions, tells GTR about the inherent difficulties associated with expansion: “There’s no genuinely global bank, it is not achievable. Having said that, BNP Paribas is one of the most global banks and because of that we can provide a much better level of service and being there for our clients in the market’s they are in.”

Mathieu Le Brigand,  BNP Paribas’s head of GTS for Europe, adds: “Europe, accounting for one third of the world’s GDP, is a strategic market, not only for our European-headquartered clients but also for Asian and American multinationals that increasingly bank with BNP Paribas. Therefore, our pan-European capacities and our leadership in this region, a key dimension of our relationship with European corporates, are also instrumental in our ambitions to develop an even stronger franchise in Asia and in the Americas, as regional banks there can hardly compete with us in this field.”