For expatriates in China, taking care of personal finance can be a demanding task. Due to the language barrier, many decide to turn to an international bank to take care of their banking needs in China. Societe Generale is the only French bank providing retail banking services in China. “We cater to the specific needs of expats, offering a lot more than the basic daily banking services”, says Societe Generale’s Arnaud Lagraulet.
Societe Generale currently has banking outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan and Hangzhou, offering a full range of banking services for clients in China. Years of banking services for expatriates in China enable the bank to gain insight into expatriates’ special banking needs. “In 2014 we enhanced our Expatriate Offer, a service package tailored to the needs of this specific client target group”, says Arnaud Lagraulet, Personal Banking Managing Director of Societe Generale China. “The service includes daily banking services, card services, cross-border transactions and – since 2014 – even global concierge and assistance services.”
Arnaud Lagraulet has been in China for over two years. Also as an expatriate in China, he knows the headaches that many other expatriates have experienced. But what do expatriates expect from an international bank in China? First of all, they want to have easy access to their accounts, wherever they are. Imagine Nicolas, a Societe Generale China client. He works in China and travels a lot between China and France. He uses a debit card issued by Societe Generale China for his daily needs in China. With the same card, he can also easily withdraw Euro at all Societe Generale ATMs in France and other ATMs in Europe connected by China UnionPay.
Paid in RMB, expenses in euro
Nicholas gets paid in RMB but many of his expenses are in euro. Now with a Societe Generale China card, he can withdraw local currency in Europe conveniently and does not need to exchange RMB for euro anymore. In particular, cash withdrawal fees are waived as long as the withdrawal amount is over RMB 2000. As many banks charge high fees for overseas cash withdrawal, banking with Societe Generale saves Nicholas money.
But occasionally expatriates also need to transfer money internationally. This banking service, frequently used by expatriates in China, can be costly. At every transfer, a commission and cable fee for each overseas transfer is charged. With this need in mind, Societe Generale China offers expat clients one free transfer (free of SG China commission and cable fee) each month to their own accounts in home-country. “Many of our clients have international transfer needs, after the free transfer to their own account overseas, and then they can use their online banking for various purposes”, says Lagraulet.
Another headache is the need to come to a bank office in person for banking services. For the convenience of its clients, the bank offers user-friendly personal e-banking service. To make expatriates life easier Societe Generale now offers 24-hour global concierge and assistance services, which is facilitated by AXA Assistance. “Just call our bilingual service hotline to make reservations for air travel, hotel and restaurants or to seek medical or travel assistance. This service is very useful for expatriates because of the language barrier they face in China. Expatriates who are new in China love this service, since they need time to get used to life here”, says Arnaud Lagraulet, who has great confidence in his bank’s dedicated approach for the expatriates community in China.
For inquiry, please contact Societe Generale China service hotline 400 8888 765.