Fintech Swoon, which promised a 3% interest-bearing savings account, went into receivership this summer. Its former customers, waiting to get their money back, turned to its parent company, Financière de Garantie, but the latter has just been placed in receivership.
A particularly attractive investment
The young Lille-based company Swoon launched a particularly attractive savings product in 2018. It was a risk-free "livret" offering a return of 3% gross. Hundreds of customers put their trust in the startup, deciding to invest all their savings in it. In reality, Swoon used the money collected to finance SMEs with no access to conventional bank credit.
Today, some 150 former Swoon customers are seeking to get their money back, and around 50 of them have joined forces with France Conso Banque, an association responsible for centralizing complaints, which is preparing to launch proceedings against the managers.
A procedure that could drag on forever
While a number of victims filed a joint civil action, the Swoon neobank was placed in receivership in July 2021. Savers and their lawyer have now turned to its parent company, Financière de Garantie, for compensation. The company lent customers' savings to various SMEs at a rate of 5%, and proposed a split of 3% for individuals and 2% for Swoon.
The bad news is that Financière de Garantie was also placed in rece ivership by the Lille Commercial Court on March 28. According to the lawyer for the fifty or so plaintiffs who have joined forces with France Conso Banque, the company could remain in receivership for a long time, as it is no longer generating any resources and is refusing any takeover offers. As a result, the process could take a very long time, as so far only 1-2% of customers have been reimbursed.
Initial decision expected on April 15
While waiting for the case to be heard on its merits, the victims have an appointment with the Lille Commercial Court on April 15, which will decide whether they are entitled to demand repayment. In the event of bankruptcy, savers must declare their claims within 2 months of publication in the Bulletin officiel des annonces civiles et commerciales (BODACC). Failure to comply with this obligation will result in the claim being dismissed.
Michel Guillaud, president of the consumer association France Conso Banque, is nevertheless pessimistic, believing that hopes of recovering the funds are slim.
"We estimate that half the companies that have received loans from Financière de Garantie will default. And we don't even know whether debtor companies will continue to repay loans to Financière de Garantie, which still exists,"he says.