Interview with Kamel Naït-Outaleb, founder of impact fintech OnlyOne

"Marketing is all about striking the right balance between selling what you do well, with conviction, without falling into over-simplification, because that can quickly become greenwashing."

Kamel Naït-Outaleb

How to market in a highly technical and regulatory sector? How do you re-establish the truth in a highly greenwashed sector? How do you market complicated messages that take a long time to explain? How do you convince a large audience who don't have the time?

In this 16th episode of the podcast "Sobriété & Marketing...possible?", Marion Duchatelet talks with Kamel Naït-Outalebco-founder of the impact fintech OnlyOne which wants to give its customers the power to act with their money. They address several challenges facing the banking sector, including the difficulty of marketing in a highly technical and regulatory sectorand the fight against simplistic messages to set the record straight.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb is driven by a desire to deconstruct preconceived ideas and false beliefs about the banking sector. He's concerned with the real truth, with explaining the whys and wherefores, but how do you convince a large audience who don't have the time? That's the challenge facing OnlyOne.

Over the course of the discussion, Kamel and Marion explore different ways of achieving this. They emphasize the importance of identifying the obstacles to bank change in order to find the right messages and reach the public, of combating preconceived ideas and false beliefs, and of the importance of the human element in this process to explain and reassure people.

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Text transcript of the podcast recorded with OnlyOne

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Hello Kamel.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Hello Marion.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Thank you for taking the time to record this podcast. I'm delighted to have you with us. The first question is a bit basic, but can you start by saying who you are? And what you're doing today?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
My name is Kamel Naït-Outaleb. I'm co-founder of OnlyOne. OnlyOne is an Impact payment FinTech, so it's a green FinTech. Before launching OnlyOne, I had a banking background. I worked in banking for a large part of my career. I started working at a very young age, 17 I think. And at the age of 24, I entered the bank through the back door as a receptionist, then I progressed throughout the banking network as an advisor, wealth advisor, manager. Then I joined a major group, HSBC, where I worked in support functions, on product creation projects (savings, loans) and on process overhaul projects. And very quickly, I took on the regulatory role. I was in charge of implementing regulations for the whole Group, whatever the business line. And in 2017, I decided to leave everything. I was 40 years old, a young father who was beginning to wonder about the next steps in his career and the future of his children too. And in 2017, I left HSBC to embark on a return to education and then on an entrepreneurial adventure.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
How did you come up with the idea of creating OnlyOne?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
It's a kind of continuity to my career. I've learned a lot about banking, how it works, what's right and what's wrong, what needs to be changed and what needs to be kept. It's more a question of continuity. And this continuity is born of the observation that, when you start to take an interest in the impact we can have on society and the environment, it all comes down to money. And just as well, I've made my career in that environment. So everything I've learned over the years, I wanted to put to good use for a more just cause. I wanted to create the kind of bank I would have liked to work for, one that embraced my values, as well as those of the challenges we face, which are both societal and climatic. The driving force has always been my children, because the real question is: what future for our children? At a time when we're constantly being told that there's a real climate issue, that we have challenges to meet for 2030, 2050, I calculate: in 2030, how old will my daughters be? In 2050, how old will they be? And I see that, unfortunately, they don't have the same carefree lifestyle that we enjoyed in the 80s and 90s.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender At the end of your career with HSBC, what made you stop? Was there anything that disgusted you? Did you realize that it wasn't all that clean?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - Only One There are many things. In fact, there's the bank itself. It's very pyramidal. As soon as you want to do something, it requires layers of validation and so on. Even if it's just an idea. Let's take the example of how we make green, which has to go through committees. It's pretty heavy stuff. Dirty, yes. As you get older, you start to wonder about the meaning of what you're doing. And when you dig a little deeper, you realize that in the end, you're not contributing anything, or worse, you're degrading this world. And it's not easy at 40 to say to yourself, "Come on, I'm going to drop everything and embark on an entrepreneurial adventure that's much riskier, but with a real conviction that we can create something more virtuous. It's been carefully thought through. The conviction is too strong to say to yourself that you're going to stay in your place "nice and warm", because I was "nice and warm" where I was before.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
I can imagine. When you introduced OnlyOne, you presented it as a FinTech with Impact. I find that it's not easy to understand certain concepts when you read the media or when you read different websites or messages. Can you tell us what the difference is between a bank, a neo-bank and a FinTech?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
First of all, I totally agree with you. Today, the word neo-bank is used for everything. In other words, we can't even tell the difference between a FinTech, a neo bank and a bank. And yet, the difference is very clear. It's already regulatory. A bank is a credit institution. This means that today, you have a player called the ACPR (Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution), part of the Banque de France, which is the financial watchdog along with the AMF. A bank is a credit institution, like a traditional bank, with bank branches and advisors, working in all business lines, i.e. retail banking, commercial banking and investment banking. It's a universal bank in itself. That's a real bank. It can do everything. It can make loans, it can make investments, it can offer all the regulated savings products such as Livret A, LDD, PEL, etc. It's really the traditional bank that we're talking about. It's really the traditional bank we know, the big national banks we know. A neo-bank is a group of new players who have arrived on the market, based on the principle that we, as users, can simplify the way we bank. How I can use the banking application to carry out all my transactions without going to the counter, without going through my advisor, and in a very simple and fluid way. However, this does not mean that they have the status of a bank. It's a neologism that was created to make it easier to understand the difference between a very old traditional bank with counters, advisers, etc., and the neo-banks, which are more digital. The term "bank" can be used if the company, the FinTech and we'll come back to this term later, has a credit institution license, which is very rare in the end. Initially, when you want to start up as a FinTech, it's difficult to get credit institution approval right away. Unless you get a credit institution license, which costs a lot of money and requires a lot of resources - we're talking several million euros. Neo-banks are generally "resellers" of banking solutions. They've "just" added the technology, the user experience, etc. But they're not banks. And so, FinTech is in fact what I've just explained: a technology company that uses this very technology to offer payment services, savings services, insurance, etc., in a much simpler, more fluid way, but without having this license. By using the license of a banking institution or one already approved by the regulator. There's a real difference between the three.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So, in fact, today's neo-banking should be called FinTech, don't we agree? If we take your competitors like Green Got or Helios, are they Impact FinTechs?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
These are Impact FinTechs. Others include Lydia. These are FinTechs. Today, there are European players who have obtained credit institution authorizations. We need to take a close look at the approvals behind them. You have neo-banks, real neo-banks, which have obtained credit institution authorizations. We are registered with the ACPR. It's the ACPR directly that, through our partner the electronic money institution, has validated our file. Other players don't need to do this. They can go through an organization that depends on the ACPR. It's not really the same thing. Even there, there's still a difference. France is complex.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
In France, who are the real neo-banks, banks that offer credit?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Neo-banks offering credit? There's a neo-bank today called Memo banque, which does professional control, which is a credit institution, which can grant credit.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Okay, that's for the pros.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
As far as individual customers are concerned, I don't think there are any neo-banks today, apart from neo-banks that have been created by banks themselves. Typically, my French Bank is a neo-bank created by Banque Postale. You've got players like that who, behind the scenes, were created by traditional banks.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
What do you think of this? Traditional banks creating their own neo-banks?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
I think they were obliged to follow suit anyway. It was also necessary to keep up with the times. The neo-banks arrived 15 years ago... Well, the FinTechs arrived 15 years ago with a much better user experience, the possibility of doing all these operations, as I was telling you, in a finer, simpler way, whereas in a bank, you had to go and see your advisor or wait two days to do an operation. So, they've set out to bring digitalization and innovation to their offers. I think it's the next logical step. There are two schools of thought. There are the banks that are going to create their own neo-banks, and there are the banks that are going to buy up neo-banks, FinTechs, to integrate them into their offerings.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
My question was, if they follow the movement, do they have the same sincerity as those who are there?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
It's more about the commercial aspect, it's about being able to meet a need for autonomy and digitalization. On the other hand, I'm not sure about the impact. It's totally different. It involves a lot of things. Going with the flow, yes. On the other hand, they're still way behind on a lot of issues, especially when it comes to climate change. And that's what we're talking about: impact. As long as players like us don't take more market share and say "People want things to change", they won't budge. It took years for them to do it, to create their own neo-banks, to bring in the whole user experience and digitalization part. Now, in the same way, I think it's going to take them some time before they say to themselves, "In the end, yes, indeed, we have to change." And even then, they won't necessarily change for the right reasons. They're going to change because they have to, not out of conviction.

The FinTechs we're creating today, on the other hand, are born of the conviction that money, which is the sinews of war today, can be used in a different way, precisely to finance the transition and stop financing polluting projects or projects that run counter to human values, typically armaments and things like that.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Your main bank is Société Générale. How do you choose this connecting bank?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
We don't choose it. That's the whole point of what we're trying to explain. The first question I asked myself when creating OnlyOne was how I, as a citizen, could act with my money. And it turns out that there are two levers. One is how I consume differently. How I realize that my consumption has an impact. And two, savings. When I'm not consuming, I'm saving. Saving is 80% of what we own. And we've built things around this question. My account is the perfect photo of my consumption, so we're going to help as many people as possible to realize their consumption as it is, and we're going to help them reduce the impact of their consumption by calculating their carbon footprint.

Then there was the question of money on deposits. But as long as we're not a bank, we can't make that promise. We can't say "The money you deposit with Société Générale or BNP pollutes and pollutes much more than your consumption". One, that's not the case at all because not everyone has the same means. I often read "You emit 11 tons of CO? as much as your consumption." And when you dig into the figures, it's that you have €25,000 in one of the big banks and that emits 11 tonnes of CO?. But who has €25,000 constantly in their account all year round? That's the first question. Today, we're talking about a social crisis and we're telling people, "You're polluting with your money because you've got €25,000 in the bank." We've seen that this rhetoric doesn't fly either, and as time goes by, we've also seen the thresholds lowered. Now it's "You've got €5,000, that's two tonnes of CO?

The subject of home banking was one of them. We looked into it. Today, it's not an anchor bank. When you start up, the regulator tells you that your customers' money must be secure. It can only be secured in one of two ways. Either you take out insurance, which is very expensive, or you lock up your funds. And that's in a French or even European credit institution.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
What does it mean to "ring-fence" funds?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
That means they have to be secure. For example, Marion, you're going to have an account with me, you're going to have your IBAN which is our partner Treezor, your money is on the electronic wallet. It's your money, it belongs to you. Neither I nor our partner can touch it. On the other hand, if we ever go bankrupt, we have to guarantee your money. The equivalent of your money being deposited in an account with Société Générale to ensure that if you, me, OnlyOne or my partner Treezor goes bankrupt, the money is available in a bank that will be able to reimburse you.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender But why Société Générale and not HSBC, for example?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
It's our partner, the Banque de Services, which, when it was set up, chose a hive-off account as a matter of regulatory obligation. In our case, to be totally transparent, when we chose Treezor, their hive-off account was with Crédit Mutuelle Arkea, which suited us very well. A mutual bank that's not a big player. However, in the meantime, Société Générale has taken over Treezor and, for reasons of optimization, has asked all customers to switch directly to Société Générale. That's why, for a year now, accounts have been secured with Société Générale. We've been attacked a lot for this, even though there's a history. You have to give us time to get things right, because we're navigating in a very complicated regulatory environment. We can't be expected to meet the same requirements as a bank. A bank can do things. It could very well say "I'm finished. I'm done financing weapons, I'm done financing fossil fuel giants. We're here with what we can do, and with regulations that aren't necessarily to our advantage. And we need time to find alternative solutions.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
But at the end of the day, for you, Société Générale is just a way of securing your customers' money. By value, I imagine you would have preferred a mutual bank. And I can't imagine it's easy to change.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
It's not easy to change, and once again, it's not your choice. You were talking about competitors earlier, they have their partners and their partners choose. How does that work? I'm going to create a payment FinTech that will measure the carbon footprint and help reduce it, but to do that, I need a partner. This partner doesn't just have OnlyOne. Can you imagine if I said to my partner, "Listen, it's not Société Générale, for me it'll be the Banque Postale or La Nef. It's complicated. It's not your choice. You can try to guide them, to find solutions with them, but you don't choose.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Okay, very clear. You've talked about it a bit, but I'd like to see it clarified, because I don't think it's obvious in everyone's head either. It's often said, and again in the coms, that having our money with BNP or HSBC, all the classic banks, is dirty. Because they invest, particularly in fossil fuels. But in concrete terms, how does it work? Let's imagine I have money in one of these classic banks. How do they do it? What do they take from my money? How do they invest it? And how is it dirty?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
First of all, your money is not dirty. You earned your money, and I think you earned it honestly, so we can't say that your money is dirty. In the same way, you can't say that because you deposited it in a bank, it's dirty. That's the basic principle of banking. Banks collect money and with that money, they can lend it out. It's all very technical, but when you look at a bank's balance sheet, you see its liabilities and assets. Liabilities are what the bank collects from its customers: savings, deposits and so on. It's the bank's equity capital, as well as its investments. And with these liabilities, it will finance assets, i.e. lend money to individuals, companies, large corporations, etc. It will also make investments. It will also make investments. The bank will be able to use part of its customers' deposits to invest or lend money. For example, typically, you and I have €1,000. The bank will be able to lend 2,000 and will be able to lend to Total, to Shell, but also to the local baker, but also to Madame Michu who is going to buy her house.

In fact, the money is what's known as "fungible", meaning that your money and mine are mixed together, and the bank can do what it likes with it, in quotation marks, in relation to what it's allowed to do. In other words, it has the right to lend money with what it has collected, at least in part, because it has to maintain ratios for liquidity, solvency and so on. So it can't do everything either. Some of it also belongs to the European Central Bank. When we say that money is dirty, it's because when you deposit money in a bank, the very principle of a bank is that it collects money to be able to lend and invest. And so they sometimes invest too much in fossil fuels, arms, gas, oil and so on. And that's why we say that money is dirty. One bank more than another. So there's a real issue here, and that's to ask ourselves: "Today, how much of my money could be used for fossil fuels?

Here again, it's something worth looking into. Because when you look at the financial assets of the French, you have on average 13% on your current deposit accounts, i.e. the money you have in your checking account which you use to pay the rent, your daily shopping, etc., your bills. The rest is in savings. So we have 87% on savings. And that's the real question. In the end, it's not the deposit account. Because in relation to the overall amount, it's quite minimal, even if we have to work on it, but it's really on savings. Savings is something we can choose from. We'll be offering passbook savings accounts, PEL accounts, life insurance policies and so on. So there's a real question of saying, "How can I redirect as many flows as possible so that they finance, one, the real economy and, two, the ecological transition and stop financing harmful projects?" That's where we're going to get into subjects that are a little more up to date today, and that's the various labels on socially responsible investment, green labels, etc. But you have to know how to dig into them, because you can have certain things in which, unfortunately, you still have Total, Shell, BP or Gazprom.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
How do you stand out from the crowd?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
We're different in that we focus on the deposit part, the deposit account that represents your consumption. What we're going to do is measure and estimate the carbon footprint of your spending, to help you better manage your budget and the impact of your consumption. With the payment account, we'll finance ecological transition projects, thanks to the commissions we collect. That's the real current account part. That's what sets us apart, and that's how we support you in your low-carbon lifestyle through your payment account.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
This means that in the application or whatever, every time I make an expense, I get a CO? equivalent score, I guess?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Yes, that's it.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
When you say "We go with you", what does that mean? Tomorrow, you're going to tell me "You've got to stop buying there"?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
In fact, we're going to give you some recommendations. First of all, we'll look at national averages in major categories, for example, and see that you spend much more on leisure or transport, etc. We'll tell you the average spend in this category today. We'll tell you today, the average expenditure in this category is that. You may be above that, so that means you spend a little more. So, already, by definition, it's more because you're going to emit more. There's that. Then, you're also going to have a detailed analysis of transactions to say, in the end, if you'd bought refurbished, bought second-hand or highlighted certain brands, you could have avoided so many CO? At some point, you can go to the supermarket and buy both socks and tomatoes, so we suggest going a step further and saying, "If you just give us the photo of your ticket, we'll be able to give you alternative purchases too.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
That's the spending part, but what are you doing with my savings? How do you use it to benefit the ecological transition?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
We started from the principle that we couldn't do everything from the outset. Already, creating a FinTech with the payment, the algorithm to measure the carbon footprint, etc., is something that takes time. What's more, we've also talked about certification by the Ministry. We're certified by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, so we've taken things pretty seriously. On the savings side, we've created a marketplace, which means that when you tell people "Consume differently, but also save differently" and just say that, in the end, your savings can be used to finance more virtuous projects, you have to find solutions. When you go to the search engines and type in "green savings", you'll see, you can do the test. First of all, it's pretty complicated to find your way around. It's even more complicated to find out what's inside. What we've done is to try to section partners who share our desire to change things, particularly in finance and banking, and who have the capacity to offer products that will, for example, be in line with the Paris agreements. This means that we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. I'm thinking typically of Goodvest life insurance, which has had to work with firms such as Carbone 4 to work on all the products in which it invests, and so the idea, for us at OnlyOne, is to redirect towards solutions that are more genuine for us, those that are more transparent, that can give us a real measure of impact.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
It's all decided internally. I imagine the algorithm that calculates the equivalent of your expenses. It's all algos. Algos and choices regarding investment projects are decided internally.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
In any case, we created the algorithm to measure the carbon footprint. We did it ourselves. We didn't do it alone. We consulted ADEME, we consulted the Bilan Carbone association. We use reliable databases. So yes, that's what we do. And as I was saying earlier, we also presented it to the Ministry of Transition with their Green Tech Innovation label, which we obtained. it was also validated by an institution. And on the Marketplace part, where we look for players, we look at players who offer savings and investment products. If these products correspond to our values and we can see that they are really monitored, that they avoid greenwashing, etc., then we offer them a place on our marketplace, so that our users can subscribe fairly quickly, generally with reductions in management fees and so on, to make them even more eager to go.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Do your customers choose their projects according to a list you've drawn up beforehand?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
There are two things. We're mixing two things. There's the financing part, which we do with the payment card. Every time you pay, we get commissions from the merchant's bank. And then we finance projects. In other words, the customer can choose the small pennies in his application, because it's a micro-donation after all. Don't think we're going to invest millions of euros, and we're not going to say, "We've invested millions of euros. What we're saying is that it's the strength of the collective that will enable us to finance many more projects. You have 10,000 people, 100,000 people, and every time you pay, you get 10 cents. At the end of the month, those 10 cents add up to quite a bit of money. The customer can choose between projects that protect biodiversity, human rights or animal life. It's the customer who chooses. That's really the part of how we finance projects.

What I was just explaining in relation to savings, because that was the question earlier, savings, is this marketplace where we go and find partners and the customer has the choice, because he has €5,000 to invest, to put €5,000 into buying trees in a forest, €5,000 into life insurance, €5,000 into a company with impact. It's up to you to decide how you want to invest.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
All right, then. So you also offer life insurance?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Partners.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Partners, that's right. Okay. You used the word greenwashing earlier. I can see that there's a lot of greenwashing going on in the banking sector. What are the main misleading messages you see that annoy you? I imagine that to work on the essential transparency, precisely to avoid being accused of greenwashing, you have to source everything every time, say that the algorithm is in partnership with ADEME, which itself is Carbone 4. I imagine you have to source everything, and that must be tiring. There's a double question. What are the main misleading messages and how do you work on them?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
For me, the main misleading message is what we were saying earlier. When you see a message telling you that your money will never be used to finance a project, that's misleading. Because, as I explained earlier, money is fungible. In other words, your money and mine can't be dissociated to say that Marion's money will finance a Green project and Kamel's money will finance a Total project. It's all the money that's collected, that finances.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
It's not about the individual.

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Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
No, exactly. It's not at the level of the individual, it's at the level of the bank. You can imagine that tomorrow, I'm going to send a letter to a bank that tells me it's polluting, saying "You're going to stop investing my money in fossil fuels," and they're not going to reply "OK, Mr. Smith's money is going to be used solely for that." It's just not possible.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
No, but a commitment to all our customers.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
On the other hand, it can do this for all its customers. It can say, "We're taking steps to say that from now on, we'll stop financing new fossil fuel extraction projects, gas, coal, etc." That's one possibility. That's one possibility.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
It's not greenwashing, if it's well done?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
La Banque Postale does it. La Nef, which is an ethical bank, does it. But then, you also have to look at the size of the banks. The big banks, the biggest ones with a balance sheet ten times larger than that of the smaller banks, say they're committed, but they do it in a very light way, and above all they continue... In fact, the real problem is that they continue to finance new projects. Normally, you'd expect them to stop and start withdrawing over time. That's a real problem. But that's something a bank can do, that's something a bank can say. A bank can do it. If it doesn't, it's greenwashing, if it does, so much the better. But here, we're talking about players who are new to the market, who don't have accreditation and who say "We're a green bank." Already, you're not a bank, nor a neo-bank, and on top of that, there's nothing green about you because you can't earmark the money. There's this notion of securing funds, which means that in any case, your money will be managed by a bank. So, you can have a more or less virtuous bank depending on the partner you choose, but you can't say that zero euros will finance fossil fuels. You don't know that. It's just not possible. So these are messages that annoy me. Personally, I know that there are projects that are set up with real sincerity, saying "We want to change things, but we don't know anything about it."

A very salesy message was sent from the outset, and as things progressed, they realized that it was more complicated than that, that they couldn't really do what they thought they could. On the other hand, what I would have found honest was to say "We made a mistake, but we're going to find other solutions." We're going to do it, maybe in a year, but maybe it's going to take us five years, maybe it's going to take us ten years. To be honest and transparent from the outset and to say "We made a mistake, we didn't do it the way we wanted to do it because we came up against strict regulations and we still want to do it. But I think it's a pity that the message that was sold wasn't repositioned by saying "In the end, we're going to do things differently" or "we're going to go step by step".

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Did you want to add something?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Yes, there was also the notion of impact. I think that's an important subject too. On our application, for example, we'll say, "We've financed 150 notebooks and 1,200 trees. We're criticized for planting trees, but I think that in France today, there's a real situation regarding forests that need to be preserved and protected. But it's tangible, meaning that we planted 2,500 trees in a project where we planted 10,000 trees. The impact announced by some people is to say, "We financed X million or X hundred thousand euros which enabled us to store 60,000 tonnes of CO? which enabled us to finance 100,000 square meters of forest. What annoys me is that I put 10,000 euros into a project that was worth a million, and I take credit for the impact of any project. It's these messages too that are irritating If you've financed 10 % of a project, you have to give the impact of the 10 % of your project. In any case, when you say to your customers, "You financed this project, you have to give the right breakdowns, the right proportions."

It's all a question of order of magnitude. In other words, if tomorrow I'm involved in a WWF or Greenpeace project asking me to raise a million euros to save one kilometer or 10 kilometers of sea ice, do you think it's normal for me, OnlyOne, to put up 500 euros and say in my communication, "I've financed 1,000 square meters of sea ice"? No. These messages annoy me too, because it's complicated for me.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
I have the impression that the challenge of FinTech with impact is to deconstruct and fight against these false...I mean, I have the impression that there's a kind of pressure where we say either you do things perfectly well and, it has a colossal impact, or you do nothing.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
That's right. The opposite of what we should be doing, in the end. It's a bit like the hummingbird spirit, where everyone has to do their bit, and it works if we all do our bit. But I have the impression that the pressure is so great. It's the same in the NGO media, etc., to say that at the end of the day, if you're not totally virtuous at 100 % and if your impact isn't x thousands of tons, we won't make it anyway. It won't have any effect. But in fact, if we were all players, FinTech or new entrants or even current players, and if we all put a little bit of energy into it in the same way we're trying to do here, it would have a huge impact. Rather than shooting ourselves in the foot or... Because it's the same for the media. I mean, at some point, let's be reasonable, let's not oversell things, let's not be ashamed of what we're doing, but just, tell the truth, be transparent.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
This is a podcast that normally talks about marketing. We've been talking about banking for half an hour now, but it's important because it's cleared up a few points in my mind. How do you use marketing at Only One? Do you use it to promote yourself and your messages, and to deconstruct misconceptions? How do you use it?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
We use it for two purposes. The first is to raise awareness and say that, in the end, it's a subject... I don't think the subject of climate change is really something we're discovering any more. However, I think we talk a lot about the problems, but very little about the solutions. So, we use marketing to provide solutions, to say that, in the end, everything's not totally played out, we all need to get involved. We promote our value proposition through marketing, highlighting why we offer this payment account today and the solution we provide. However, we're not into over-aggressive marketing. In other words, you won't see 36 posts on social networks every day. We try to do things in a fairly sober way. You mentioned e-mail in your introduction. People say that digital marketing pollutes a lot. Rightly or wrongly, of course. We're talking about servers, we're talking about the weight of e-mails. The idea is to think about how we can attract the maximum number of people using the levers available to us from a marketing point of view, but without abusing them. Nor should it be something that pollutes social networks. We do sponsored posts from time to time on Instagram, Facebook and so on. We communicate about our raison d'être and above all, we also communicate about the truth and falsehood of everything we hear, read or write.

We're also trying to get people acculturated to these subjects, because as you've seen, marketing banking is a complicated business.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes, it's very hard.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
To explain how a bank works, as you can see, I've used a few terms and tried to make them as simple as possible. It's difficult because I'm also professionally deformed when it comes to details. When you're in banking, you're very analytical, you really go into details and so on. And people today need simplicity. And I think that's why certain greenwashing messages are so appealing from a marketing point of view. Saying "The bank pollutes, we don't." It's very simple.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
You say to yourself, "First of all, I didn't know the bank polluted, and secondly, OK, you don't pollute. Okay, you tell me, okay, I believe you." We use marketing to try not to mislead people, to make sure that people understand and that we don't fall into the trap of greenwashing. The simple fact that Société Générale is behind OnlyOne tells you straight away that we're not being at all sincere, and it's only by explaining and explaining again that you'll understand the whys and wherefores. But without trying to understand, you're going to judge us as insincere. But it's just the opposite.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
That's what's complicated: people don't have the time anymore. So they want to read things quickly, and so on. When you're reading too fast, you see Société Générale, and you think it's discrediting you, but it's not, it's just to secure funds. But to understand that, you need at least half an hour of podcast. That's the challenge.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
That's the challenge of marketing for us today. The paradox is that, for some people, marketing is very simple. For us, the simplest thing was to create the technology. When I say "simplest", it's because we immediately said to ourselves: "We know what we want to do, and we know how we're going to get there. We're going to create our own technology so that we can help as many people as possible. So from a technological point of view, we have no worries. From a marketing point of view, it's complicated. As I often say to the team, we're not going to fall into the trap of over-simplistic messages. Of course, we'll attract a lot of people with simplistic messages, but the problem is that we'll end up lying. Like you said, people want to move fast, but at some point, some people are going to start digging and say, "In the end, you lied to me a bit on certain subjects."

And, for me, that's a killer. Today's marketing seems to me to be quite difficult, because you have to strike the right balance between selling what you do well, with conviction, and not being too simplistic, because that can lead to greenwashing in the end.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
We were talking about posting frequency earlier. If you publish messages too frequently, at some point you may start to question your credibility. Doesn't the company want to grow too fast and, as a result, there's less sincerity and less credibility? Or is it better to find the right balance with a softer pace, not using all the GAFAMs in the world to push messages? It may be just as well to think like that, but once again, the challenge is to find the happy medium between "moving forward anyway" and "convincing people".

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
There's a whole philosophy behind OnlyOne. You mentioned GAFAM. Do I like putting big marketing budgets into companies that don't pay taxes in France and which also have a monopoly? It bores me. Today, my marketing is very sober. Of course, I'm on social networks, because in 2023, if you're not on social networks, you don't exist. But there are other solutions. We're partnering with certain sustainable media that focus on global warming issues and solutions. We're also partners with other companies that promote the OnlyOne product to their communities. As you can see, we're trying to find different ways of raising our profile.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Definitely. Of the companies we've interviewed so far in this podcast, the cursor isn't in the same place. It's determined by the company's philosophy. Some of them will have a slightly radical cursor, like no GAFAM. But in that case, they have other marketing levers: they'll do more trade shows and conferences. A lot of this is oral marketing. They're going to have insane customer service because, precisely, to try and convince people to change their consumption habits, it's all about the voice. The voice is much more convincing. So they're going to maximize their use of conferences, Tedexes, trade shows and so on. Other companies are going to apply what they learned in business school and say, "Social networks are hot. These are two very different points of view. Putting the cursor in the middle, or a little more to the right than to the left.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
I couldn't agree more. After that, you're going to have people telling you that the advantage of being into social networking and stuffing is that they're going to talk about it to as many people as possible, over a very wide audience. I think you can indeed ask the question of sincerity. Is it from a business point of view that you're doing it, or rather because you're going to alert a lot of people to the subject? But when your post always ends with "Open an account with me" or "Take something from me", you can ask yourself the question of sincerity.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
If you have investors, and you're under pressure to make sales in two or three years, it's not the same thing.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Personally, I think there are other ways of doing things other than marketing, other than marketing like this.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
That's what's interesting: today, we're obliged to invent new ways of doing things, so that we don't do things the same way as before.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
I was talking to my team the other day and we were brainstorming ideas. If we're in a place where there are a lot of people, we can print messages on recycled paper or paper that you plant. I can't remember what they call it.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes, the germinating seeds.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
There you go. It's a bit like the old days. I remember a time when we were asked to go out into the street and knock on doors to explain what we were doing and how we were doing it.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
I think that what makes a lasting impression on people is talking to them about their sticking points. So, the role of marketing is to work on the messages, on these sticking points. What makes a conscious consumer, who is militant in his consumption, who buys as much as possible locally, in bulk, etc., why is it that even he can't change bank and stays with a traditional bank? Is this something you're working on? Have you identified the bottlenecks and obstacles that make it difficult for people to change banks?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
There are plenty of them. We know them. Already, the first thing is that most people will tell you "Yes, but I need to have an account in a traditional bank." One, for security, because you've seen FinTech and neo-bank failures in recent years. Two, usually it's because they need to make a loan. It's people with mortgages who tell themselves they're married to their bank for life, well until the loan runs out. But that's a myth, a false belief. In fact, it's not. The bank can't force you to take out a direct debit once you've paid your mortgage instalments.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
That's changed, isn't it?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
No, that's always been the case.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Hasn't anything changed recently? To take out a new loan with a traditional bank, you need to have your salary?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
We can't force you to stay in a bank. You have to pay your loan installment, so you have to have an account that has that money every month. You can top up this account every month with money from another bank. Today, we're multi-banked. There's no legal obligation to domicile your income in a bank because it's making you a loan.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
I think she's playing with words.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
She plays a lot with words.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes. In fact, for you, one of the obstacles is the security aspect. But as we've seen, even if the Impact FinTech goes bankrupt, it's secure at the cantonal bank, don't we agree?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Where is the hive-off bank? In our case, it's in France, it's Société Générale, but we need to know where the money is hived off, i.e. which bank is the partner.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
When you say "where", do you mean the country?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
This is the country. Because in fact, there are rules. If the bank holding the money goes bankrupt, it contributes in its own country. If, for example, you open an account in France, but the bank is, I don't know, in England, the country's rules apply. It's in England that you'll have to collect your money.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So we check that it's really in France. So that's one obstacle that can be overcome. There's another obstacle linked to credit: "I have my credit with my traditional bank, so I can't leave". And, yes, in fact, you could very well have your credit stay there and your current account and savings go elsewhere. You just have to make sure that every month you make the right transfer to cover the credit.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
Exactly. You have to avoid being overdrawn. You also have another obstacle, which is banking mobility. The fact that I have to transfer my EDF and GDF bills, my salaries and so on. The Macron law, which came into force a few years ago, obliges banks to facilitate banking mobility.

Some people have a bit of an administrative phobia. It's anxiety-provoking. But normally, it's taken care of by the banks, but it's still a hindrance.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
That's true. When you come down to it, when you list the people you need to warn, there must be five or six of them? In any case, I think you should fight against these obstacles and propose solutions. To kill stress, to say "Security here is good, we're in France. Lending is good. You can do both.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
It's like what you said earlier about marketing, it's the power of the human touch. At some point, you need a customer service department to explain and reassure people. You can take the plunge, and make the switch with peace of mind, both from a security point of view, but also from an administrative point of view. It's all pretty straightforward. There aren't really any major constraints. These days, we're multi-banked, so it doesn't shock me to still have an account with a traditional bank because you've got a PEL or a life insurance policy that you can't transfer. That's another barrier, because when you have life insurance with a bank, it's not transferable. Sometimes, it's also very sentimental. Some people say, "This is the account my parents opened for me". I keep a small account there. I do agree that we need to work a lot on these disincentives and get people to say "It's healthier and easier".

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
How many of you are with OnlyOne now?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
There are 15 of us.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Are some of you in charge of marketing, or do you multi-task?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
I'm a multitasker. Marketing isn't my forte, I admit. But we have three people in charge of marketing.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
I'm in. Do you have any names of companies that inspire you in their approach?

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
On the banking side, yes, there's La Nef. They don't offer current accounts yet, but I think they will in the near future. In terms of transparency, you can't beat it. And then there's La Banque Postale. It's a historic bank that's been around forever. You know, in the banking sector, people used to say that the postal bank was the bank that accepted people who were refused by the "traditional" banks. It's always had this citizen side. And then there are brands like Patagonia, especially with what the boss did recently. It's brands like that where not only do you have a positive impact, but you also have leaders who set an example.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
They provide inspiration.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
They give inspiration, exactly.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Thank you very much, Kamel, for your time.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
With pleasure, Marion. Sorry if I got too technical there.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Thank you for clearing up the fog in my head about this area. It's much clearer now.

Kamel Naït-Outaleb - OnlyOne
With great pleasure.

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