10Credit Agricole Group
Credit Agricole Group, or fondly known as ‘la banque verte’ which translates to the green bank, is a French network of cooperative and mutual banks. The network of banks comprise Credit Agricole local banks, 39 regional banks and a central institute Credit Agricole S.A. n 1990,it became an international full-service banking group. It is listed through Crédit Agricole S.A., an intermediate holding company, on Euronext Paris’ first market and is part of the CAC 40 stock market index. Local banks of the group owned the regional banks, in turn the regional banks majority owned the S.A. via a holding company, in turn the S.A. owned part of the subsidiaries of the group, such as LCL, the Italian network and the CIB unit.
Credit Agricole’s local banks were created by the then Minister of Agriculture, Jules Meline in an effort to promote lending to small family farms through the Act of 5 November 1894. The initial local banks were set up by local elites like agronomists, teachers and property owners. During those times. Only short term loans were given out as advances on harvests which helped the farmers live more comfortably. Medium and long term loans came much later which aided the farmers in buying livestock and equipments.The onset of 21st century saw the Credit Agricole move on to a steady growth trajectory through acquisitions and takeovers. Finaref was acquired in 2003. The same year, Credit Agricole acquired Credit Lyonnais in a friendly takeover. It happened after a market battle was brought about by government’s decision to auction off its stake in Credit Lyonnais. The two banks were combined in 2003 and 2004. Credit Agricole currently holds total assets worth US $1.91 trillion.