CREDIT AGRICOLE S A Profile
Credit Agricole is a retail bank that can trace its history back to 1894 when the Minister Jules Meline created the bank through the Act of 5 November 1894. In another act just five years later, the Agriculture Ministry would create Crédit Agricole’s Regional Banks, opening nine in its first year. As the local and regional banks in France grew, Credit Agricole assumed the role of a central bank, regulating business and financing the development of land to support small rural farms. In 1920, the Office National de Crédit Agricole was set up in order to officially serve as a central clearing organization for regional banks and allow the bank to have greater autonomy. Through the 1920s and into the 1930s, the bank would increase its geographical coverage and begin expanding its offerings to include loans to rural tradesmen in 1920 and low interest loans for farmers in 1928. Credit Agricole would focus on attracting savings in order to “finance the post-war reconstruction effort and the mechanization of agriculture” from the 1940s into the 1960s, opening thousands of new offices and making the bank self-financing in 1963. In 1966, the bank would attain full financial autonomy through the “major financial reforms carried out by the government to boost savings and remove Crédit Agricole from its budget.” The bank would focus on growth and expansion, extending its range of activities and strengthening its position as a provider of mortgages and services to become one of the world’s leading banks. Credit Agricole would open its first international branch in Chicago in 1979. In 1988, Credit Agricole would become fully independent from the government with Lucien Douroux becoming the first CEO and would be publicly traded in 2001 under its current name. Past the turn of the century the bank focused on further diversifying its line of business, acquiring companies such as Banque Indosuez, Sofinco, Credit Lyonnais, and Finaref. The bank currently has over 150,000 employees and over $1.7 trillion in total assets, bringing in a revenue of over $35 billion.