Dresdner Bank's retail customer division and the French company Cetelem - a subsidiary of the BNP-Paribas Group - launched a joint venture in Frankfurt am Main on February 26, 2001. The agreement is aimed at creating long-term cooperation in the consumer credit business, and will become effective subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.
The first step in the joint venture was the acquisition by both companies of WKV-Bank, in which Dresdner Bank now holds a 30% and Cetelem a 70% interest. Munich-based WKV specializes in consumer credit business and used to be wholly owned by Bankhaus Reuschel, a subsidiary of the Dresdner Bank Group. In future, WKV will trade as "Cetelem Bank GmbH" and serve as a basis for the joint venture activities as a platform for developing consumer credit products, particularly for the retail trade.
One of the venture's first measures will be to market "revolving credit cards" via Dresdner Bank's branch network. These are "real" credit cards with which consumers only pay for a proportion of their purchase immediately, the balance being settled over a longer period against interest payments. Revolving credit cards are regarded as a cutting-edge product for the German market, which nevertheless require a substantial amount of specialist knowledge. Cetelem, a proven expert in this area of business, will make a valuable contribution to the venture. "Our alliance with Cetelem will enable Dresdner Bank to offer another attractive product as part of its retail customer business," added Gerhard Richter, Senior General Manager of Dresdner Bank AG and head of its domestic retail customer division. "Completely outsourcing these activities also gives us additional opportunities to focus on our consulting business and to achieve our goal of increasing our return on equity."
Cetelem, a subsidiary of the BNP-Paribas Group, is the market leader in the European consumer credit business and has awarded more than EUR 18.6 billion worth of credit. This bank is well known for its expertise in revolving credit cards and manages around eight million. The joint venture is a further important step in Cetelem's pan-European expansion. To date, Cetelem has been able to enter 18 markets in the course of pursuing its internationalization strategy. Concluding this agreement with Dresdner Bank means that Cetelem will gain access to the most prominent European markets. "We are delighted to be able to work with a partner of the stature of Dresdner Bank and we are firmly convinced that the agreement enables both sides to pursue a win-win strategy," said FranÃ§ois Julien-LabruyÃ¨re, Cetelem Managing Board member responsible for foreign business.