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Frédéric-Guillaume Raiffeisen, 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, religious people.


1918-1950 : 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.