Credit Lyonnais, BNP-Paribas, Société Générale and CIC all offer loans to their clients. So, if you are not a client, you will need to open an account.
Their rates are not always the most competitive, but if you are an existing client, then there may be scope for negotiation of a preferential tariff.
Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutual, Caisse d’Epargne, Banque Populaire also offer loans to clients.
They differ from the national banks in that they are mutually owned, and their regional nature gives them a degree of autonomy that allows some variations in the offer from region to region.
This is the banking arm of the French post office, La Poste, which also offers mortgages and is an underused source of finance.
La Banque Postal have only in recent years been granted the unlimited right to offer home loans, and they are determined to make a presence in the market place with low rates and charges.
Accordingly, you are likely to find they will beat the rates and fees of most lenders.
However, their lending practices may well be more conservative, and the application procedure more long-winded.
If you have a stable income, and you prepared to be patient, it is worth making a mortgage application to them.
The banks Entennial, l’UCB, and Crédit Foncier, are not deposit banks, but often offer more interesting and competitive solutions to the nationals or the mutuals.
Crédit Immobilier, once a major lender, has now closed its doors after incurring financial difficulties.
Crédit Foncier has a branch office in the city of London, with an English language website.
Some of the main UK based banks who lend in France are, Abbey National, Barclays, HSBC, Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland.
They are all quite aggressive in search of new clients and are certainly worth investigating.
A growing and potentially interesting source for securing a mortgage is to go through a broker.
Brokers can often obtain better rates and conditions because of volume discount, or simply because banks do not advertise the rates to which they are prepared to go to.
Moreover, studies indicate that rates vary between regions within the same lender, as well as between the lenders themselves. This is mainly because of local competition.
So it may pay you to trawl the market on a national basis, rather than restrict yourself to bank branches in a particular locality.
Brokers also often have good relationships with insurance companies and so can achieve a better deal.
The UK internet broker International Private Finance might be of particular interest to non-French speaking Anglophones as it operates out of London.
You need to check fees and how they compare to the arrangement fees that may be offered directly by the lender.
As usual, you need to take your time, do your research, shop around, and negotiate.
Next: Mortgage Types