4. French Mortgage Lenders & Brokers

  1. National Banks
  2. Mutual Banks
  3. La Banque Postale
  4. Specialist Property Banks
  5. Foreign Banks
  6. Brokers

4.1. National French Banks

Most national French banks (Credit Lyonnais, Société Générale and CIC) offer mortgages 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.

4.2. Mutual French Banks

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.

4.3. La Banque Postale

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 many 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.

4.4. International Banks

The UK banks have withdrawn from the French market, unless a loan against a property in the UK, although other banks in Europe remain active.

4.5. Brokers

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.

Nevertheless, since 2019 many banks in France have been unwilling to deal with clients referred by a broker, unless there is a strongly established relationship, preferring instead to use their own branch network to sell mortgages and maintain their margin. Accordingly, you need to check with the broker that they really do have access to a range of banks, and that they do not effectively act as an agent for one bank with whom they work.

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

Back: French Mortgage Loan Guarantees

The Guides to France are published for general information only.
Please visit our Disclaimer for full details.