Societe Generale – Multinationals Observatory

Société Générale is one of the oldest and most venerable French banking groups, founded in 1864 by a group of Second Empire businessmen, including Eugène Schneider, who was its first president. It developed internationally very early on, particularly in Russia.

Nationalized in 1945, Société Générale was privatized again in 1987 – a period of strong consolidation of the banking sector in France and international expansion which was marked by stock market battles with the great rival BNP and political and financial affairs.

At the same time, Société Générale is developing increasingly sophisticated market activities and is fully committed to the type of operations that will lead to the “subprime” crisis of 2007-2008. The Kerviel affair, named after a Societe Generale trader held responsible for the loss of several billion euros, will force several leaders of the group to leave and the State to intervene to support the bank. Like other systemic banks, Societe Generale will suffer following the global financial crisis several fines for agreements and manipulations.

Société Générale has also been singled out for its involvement in the tax evasion industry, particularly in the context of the “Panama Papers” and “CumEx Files” scandals. It is also one of the world’s main financiers of fossil fuels, and in particular of the development of shale gas in the United States.

In France, like its peers, the group is engaged in a drastic reduction in its workforce as part of the planned reduction of its branch network.

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