The 2012/10/24 at 10:00
Alexandre T. Analis
Graduating in 1998 from the ESC Toulouse, Franck Oniga joined the General Inspection of the Banque Fédérale des Banques Populaires in 2000 before joining the Banque Populaire Val de France in 2006 where he became Group Director, then in 2009, Director of the Individual, Professional and Agriculture Markets. Since 2011, he has been Director of the Professional, Enterprise and Institutional Client Markets at the Banques Populaires Development Division of BPCE.
Commerce International: What, in your opinion, are the main advantages offered by factoring?
Franck Oniga: "I have always been a staunch supporter of factoring. The advantage for clients is having a better vision of their client receivables. Very often, family and regional SMEs-SMIs suffer from not being familiar enough with their clients' solvency. In the long term, they maintain close relations with their clients whereas we, on the other hand, we have a financial approach to the solvency of client receivables. The current economic crisis has entailed financing difficulties for businesses. A 'factor' who finances an operational cycle sets up, at the same time, a plan for client payment deadlines. This allows the ceiling to be lifted on the company's operational loans and support to be provided in growth."
Are there disadvantages?
F.O.: "The number of businesses taking recourse to factoring has doubled in the space of ten years. Nevertheless, certain sectors cannot take recourse to this financing mode (often the public works and construction sector) as invoices need to correspond to firm, definitive sales on services wholly completed or deliveries carried out. What also needs to be pointed out is that this is only relevant for Business-to-Business activities. Otherwise, most arguments put forward by certain businesses about factoring are too often unfounded: 'factoring is expensive', 'it's just for businesses in trouble...'. All one needs to do is to study the issue deeply to understand that these arguments do not reflect the reality. Today, this mode of financing is interesting for all businesses, from VSEs to big companies with modes of intervention adapted to every need. As for the cost, it covers much more than financing because all aspects of receivables management (credit insurance, chasing up debts, recovery, management) are taken care of by the factor."
How can factoring be advantageous in the specific case of international prospecting?
F.O.: "The Caisse Centrale des Banques Populaires was founded in 1921 by company heads meeting difficulties in financing due to the complicated Interwar economic situation. The Banques Populaires, an institution for entrepreneurs, have always sought to support enterprises in their development, as proven by the constant increase in our short-term loans. In this way, our organisation in conjunction with experts dedicated to financing enables us to bring all necessary expertise and solutions to our clients for activities in France as well as overseas. This is all the truer for export business flows or factoring solutions, and dedicated teams enable all transactions to be secured without any language barrier or risk of unfamiliarity with local legislation."
How has the French Law on Economic Modernisation changed the factoring situation in France ?
F.O.: "By reducing business payment deadlines, the French Law on Economic Modernisation (LME, 2008) has improved the cash flow of certain businesses that had fragile balance sheets, and thus great cash-flow needs. On the other hand, the cut in supplier deadlines has also generated cash-flow needs in certain streams. The impact of the LME compounded by the effects of the crisis will at least have brought a positive effect: it has made company heads aware that cash flow is at the sinews of the war. Even today, many companies remain far too relaxed about cashing their debts. Factoring remains a good tool for optimising client receivables management and also having a positive effect on cash flow."
How do you stand out from your competition?
F.O.: "Our strength lies in our strategy that favours a global consultancy approach over a pure product approach. The nineteen Banques Populaires work on a daily basis with experts specialised in factoring and client receivables management covering all regions. This represents over 5,000 clients for a constantly progressing business flow. We are keen to remain close to client needs; this is why our advisers meet our company-head clients at least two to three times per year."
More detailed information is available on the following web site: www.edntreprises.banquepopulaire.fr