Since the euro-transition process began, BNP Paribas has adopted a proactive stance on informing the public and assisting customers: creation of euro-kiosks starting November 1998, sponsorship of euro-awareness radio & TV programmes, and systematic provision of statements in euros and information bulletins to customers. Behind the scenes, the bank's entire internal accounting system switched to the euro on 1st January 1999.
The main challenge from now on will be to reply to all the practical questions asked by customers and to provide them with personalised support during a period likely to prove unsettling. The 2,000 BNP Paribas branches are ready to handle the transition with over 2,500 extra staff assigned to back up regular branch personnel in processing conversion transactions. Beyond that extra staff, however, the bank will recruit 5,000 students throughout the country to deal with the myriad questions customers will inevitably ask during the changeover. The new recruits will first participate in a one-day national training and motivation session on 17 November in Paris. They will then be present in each of the 2000 BNP Paribas branches from 14 December 2001 to 17°February 2002.
The "youths for the euro" will play a crucial role as euro ambassadors available to guide, inform, and assist customers in basic operations and facilitate their comprehension of the euro.
From 10 September 2001, students (holding at least a secondary-school diploma) can apply using the 300,000 forms (mini-CV) available at all BNP Paribas branches and via the www.bnpparibas.com Web site or new version of the euro-specific site that just went on online at www.euro.bnpparibas.com
The euro changeover represents a major turning point for everyone. Faced with an unprecedented upheaval in everyday money matters, customers will naturally need support and advice: 52% of the French people admit to being somewhat uneasy about the euro transition (against 32% who are reasonably confident). Furthermore, 70% of the French would like their bank to be their main source of information on the euro. They naturally turn to their banks for advice and counsel.
With this initiative, BNP Paribas and its network teams, which have been preparing since 1999, will be ready and able to support the bank's six million customers in France in the best possible conditions.