Barely out of the pandemic, and while they have to deal with supply difficulties and the surge in raw materials, companies are preparing to face the challenges of the year 2022. And to better support them, Socit Generale just launched new offers. Update with Bertrand Cozzarolo, Corporate Director at Socit Gnrale.
The year got off to a strong start for Socit Generale. After having collected a record profit of 5.6 billion euros in 2021, the red and black bank intends to beef up its offer for businesses with new servicesin the field of cybersecurity and social and environmental responsibility (CSR).
Where did you get the idea of offering cybersecurity services to your professional customers?
Bertrand Cozzarolo: It is a need that emanates from the market. Almost all companies have already been or will be victims of cyber attacks. These attacks are often very sophisticated and, in recent years, securing computer systems has become a major concern for companies, with on the one hand attackers who are becoming more professional, and on the other hand an increased risk due to the development of teleworking.
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What solutions have you developed?
Bertrand Cozzarolo: No system allows you to be perfectly protected. And the fault is often human: 90% cyberattacks begin with an operation of phishing. To defend against cyber risk, you have to be present upstream of the attack, in order to try to prevent it, but also downstream, to help the company manage the consequences of the attack if the worst should happen. We have therefore deployed two solutions.
The first is curative: we propose a cyber risk insurance. The protection offered in the event of an attack is threefold. Initially, the insurer sends IT consultants to the company to help restore the proper functioning of its information systems. Then it compensates for any operating loss caused by the attack. And finally, it allows the company to be covered if its liability were to be incurred as a result of the attack, in the event of a breakdown in services or loss of confidential data, for example.
The second is preventive: OPPENS, our subsidiary dedicated to cybersecurity, has created an innovative solution: a immersive training and regular training of employees against phishing, combining simulations and micro-training. In concrete terms, we send the employees of companies participating in the scheme a fake email of phishing, very realistic. To do this, we replicate the classic strategies of attackers: identity theft, creation of a sense of urgency… Then we offer training to to raise awareness employees who clicked. It is an inexpensive service, which allows us to support ETIs as well as SMEs or VSEs.
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We are no longer entirely in your core business. Why should businesses turn to their banker for cyber security?
Bertrand Cozzarolo: Security has always been a strong component of our banking profession. Our most essential service is precisely to ensure the money safe entrusted to us by our clients. And, naturally, we are a prime target for attackers. We have therefore developed recognized expertise in securing transactions.
Our role as banker also leads us to beprivileged interlocutor companies when they are victims of a computer attack. When the company no longer has access to its tools, it still has to pay employees, pay suppliers, manage cash flow… These are issues on which we were already working. And this, well before developing these new solutions.
Apart from cyber risk, what do you think will be the main concerns of business leaders in 2022?
Bertrand Cozzarolo: The year 2020 was a period of bottom of balance sheet for companies, with major problems of cash following the pandemic. As a priority, it was necessary to ensure that companies had access to abundant liquidity, in particular through the distribution of state-guaranteed loans. By contrast, 2021 has been a period of high balance sheet. The global economic recovery has been accompanied by a boom in strategic financing and mergers and acquisitions.
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In 2022, things should become more balanced, and it is especially CSR issues that companies will have to think about with, in particular, the implementation of the new european green taxonomy. Business models are in full transition and companies will have to show agility, whether to adapt to new regulations, or to maintain all their attractiveness on the markets. capital markets. Because, more and more, financing is directed towards funds which respect the ESG criteria (for Environmental, Social and Governance). If companies are not eligible for these funds, they will have more difficulty finding financing. Whether through coercion or incitement, there is therefore a real subject that companies will have to take up.
Is this a topic on which you also intervene with your professional clientele?
Bertrand Cozzarolo: The financing of the energy transition is a central subject for our clients and, by extension, for the entire Socit Gnrale group. To meet this need, we recently launched two new financing solutions. One environmental and social loan, first of all, which is mainly aimed at SMEs. This device, ceiling 5million euros over a period of 15 years, aims to finance the sustainable development projects of our customers, such as the purchase of a hydrogen vehicle, or the installation of solar panels, but also their societal development projects such as the financing of social housing or education programs.
We also offer a loan impact, intended more for ETIs. This loan is not allocated to the financing of any particular equipment. Its purpose is to finance the development of businesses, associations or local authorities that are part of a virtuous dynamic. Concretely, we work with a ESG rating agency which rates the company’s starting point on a scale of 0 to 100. If the company’s initial score is too low, it will not be able to access the device. The company must then commit to making progress on this scale, and audits are regularly carried out to assess its progress. If the progress is sufficient, the credit rate will be increased by 0.10% after 2 years, then 0.20% after 4 years.
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