founder of the Crédit Mutuel’s guiding principles.
Finding the Basis
of Mutualism in History
1882 and the Challenge was Set : The first branch of the Crédit
Mutuel, set up at La Wantzemau in Alsace, was based on the Raiffeisen
model, named after the doctrine’s founder, Frédéric-Guillaume
Raiffeisen. It was he who first envisaged financing farming projects
with loans made from village savings for which the villagers were
themselves responsible, in order to beat rural poverty and industrial
hardship. The growth of the Crédit Mutuel and its generous-spirited
policies was extremely rapid in this region of community-minded,
Recognition of a new banking model : The Crédit Mutuel slowly took
foothold in the countryside of France, developing in a responsible,
determined manner. Two world wars overturned its structure but the
philosophy of mutualism stubbornly remained steadfast, adapting but
never disappearing. It fought for legal recognition in the French
courts of law. Initially, local branches of the Crédit Mutuel adopted
the status of variable-capital companies laid down by the 24 July 1867
law before then being absorbed into the non-profit making associations
law of 1901. Co-operative status was finally established by law on
10th September 1947.
1950-1980 : Exceptional growth : The Crédit Mutuel underwent
enormous expansion while, at the same time, implementing its statutes
and organisation thanks to the ruling of 16 October 1958. In the same
year the National Confederation of the Crédit Mutuel was founded as a
representative of the bank regarding public authorities and necessary
regulations. In 1970 insurance banking took off with the creation of
Crédit Mutuel Insurance.
1980-1998 : A major player with local branches for all : The Crédit Mutuel is now firmly
established on the banking scene, continuing to show that it is
entirely possible to have a progressive outlook, be competent and
efficient without sacrificing one’s principles and values. Always open
to the needs of its partners, the Crédit Mutuel has taken a
technological leap forward with distance banking (by a variety of
means ranging from Minitel to Internet) without in any way negating
the importance of maintaining a relationship with a local branch. In
1998 Crédit Mutuel bought the CIC (Crédit Industrial et Commercial).
Now and in the future... The Crédit Mutuel has the
energy and drive to respond to challenge.
The Crédit Mutuel has become France’s fourth largest banking group
thanks to its capacity to listen and respond to the needs of its
partners and customers.
The relevance of a mutual banking system no longer needs proving nor
does the Crédit Mutuel’s ability to respond to challenge.
The doctrine of mutualism is well and truly alive.