Innovation Award: The first free credit information
service, available to all and 100% non-commercial
With the financial crisis, a new credit market emerged that is more ethical, more
responsible and more accessible. Cetelem is a pioneer in this market and is reinventing
the business and customer relations by offering the first free credit information service,
available to all and 100% non-commercial. BNP Paribas Personal Finance won a Group
Innovation Award 2010 for this project in the “Social commitment” category. And to
talk about it today, we are joined by Mylène Deray and Patrick Widmaier. Mylène
Deray, you are Head of Brand and Advertising for France at Cetelem. Would you remind
us briefly what Cetelem is?
Cetelem is the main brand under which BNP Paribas Personal Finance operates.
Cetelem employs more than 5,200 people in France. Its core business is consumer
credit, which covers car loans, mortgage loans, retail credit and a whole range of
Patrick Widmaier, as Cetelem’s Business Director for Consumer Credit in France,
would you explain what the credit information service project consists of?
A few years ago, Cetelem pre-empted the responsible credit brand, and so last year, we
needed to strengthen this positioning. And in the framework of our Brand,
Communications and Advertising (BCA) department, the idea emerged to create a
department or a team within the Consumer Credit sector that could answer general
questions on credit from customers phoning in. During the crisis, the media focused a
lot of attention on issues, such as excessive debt, revolving credit, etc., and we felt a
real need to establish a dialogue with customers. The “Mon crédit responsible” website
(or “My responsible credit”) created by BCA, encouraged users to pick up the phone to
discuss issues directly with Personal Finance advisers. So this operation was rolled out
in Metz, and it allowed us to communicate with our customers on this hot topic in the
midst of the crisis.
So what are the advantages for customers?
I think that for customers, it’s the same advantages that they might find in other
sectors where products come under a label. To some extent, responsible credit is now
Cetelem’s brand signature; it’s a kind of label. For customers, it is a guarantee that
Cetelem is a company which acts responsibly and which will do all it can to improve
its whole range of services to position them as responsible when they are, and then do
everything necessary in the process to make them even more responsible.
And finally, Mylène Deray, what are the advantages for Cetelem?
The benefits for Cetelem are visible at every level. Firstly, we have prepared for and
anticipated the future, which has allowed us to develop our “Cetelem 2.0” project more
confidently. We have seen a clear improvement in our brand image and awareness,
with our brand awareness rate rising from 33% to 55% in just a few months. We have
surprised the market and got people talking about us. Internally we have revived a
sense of belonging to the company, and our teams are extremely proud that their
company is listening to its customers and improving customer relations rather than
playing merely a promotional role. I have noted that Cetelem employees are proud of
their company and are really motivated to make this project a success.