Takeover Sensation

Taming the Wild Fintech

The Groupe BPCE headquarters are seen in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Natixis SA, the investment-banking unit of France's second-largest bank by branches, rose the most in five months in Paris trading after posting a less-than-estimated drop in fourth quarter profit. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg
Will France's BPCE succeed in taming Fidor, without killing it off?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    By acquiring Munich online bank Fidor, French bank BPCE hopes to accelerate its digital transformation. Fidor needs the capital BPCE can provide to grow.

  • Facts


    • Fidor is an online bank headquartered in Munich.
    • Its sale is one of the biggest fintech deals yet in Germany.
    • The dilemma for fintechs like Fidor is that they have to grow to survive, but this costs money they don’t have.
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Matthias Kröner is someone who likes to challenge the establishment. In his line of work, that means taking on the big, bad, traditional banks.

When he was just 30, Mr. Kröner headed DAB Bank, Berlin’s first online broker. Today the 50-year-old is the chief executive of the German online bank Fidor, where he has invented a new business model.

Fidor’s livelihood depends on the direct involvement of its customers. In fact, they even have a say in how much interest they receive on their deposits with the bank. Mr. Kröner calls his approach “the customer as co-manager.”

Now Mr. Kröner is striking out on an entirely new path once again. Instead of challenging the big banks, he plans to join them.

Fidor will be acquired by the France’s second-largest bank BPCE, as both firms announced Thursday evening.

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