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As the name Crédit Agricole suggests, today’s banking group finds its origin in the financing of the agricultural sector. In the late 19th century, the strongly cooperative collaboration paved the way for suitable loans to support farmers. In 1885, this effort ultimately led to the formation of the first local Société de Crédit Agricole des Arrondissements Poligny by Louis Milcent.

In addition to the following formation of local banks, which form the basis of the Group to this day, the number of regional banks also grew up to the end of the First World War. They constitute the next highest level in the company’s institutional pyramid. However, the First World War changed the functionality of the market and Crédit Agricole was called upon to set up a central bank as well to regulate the smaller institutions. 

The applied principle proved its worth and thanks to the common strength of the cooperative principle the bank also survived the crisis years of the 1930s and opened numerous new locations up into the 1970s. Thanks to this development, a nationwide, comprehensive positioning was achieved.

In 1966, the government granted the Caisse Nationale de Crédit Agricole financial autonomy and with the formation of specialised subsidiaries the beginning of the universal bank – active to this day – was heralded. In the following years, the positioning in the area of mortgages and services for private households was also strengthened.

Following a bill from 1988, it was decided to convert the regional banks into a stock corporation and thus to go completely independent from the state. Finally, in 2001, the initial public offering followed, as well as the renaming of the company to Crédit Agricole S.A.

You can find more information as well as details on the history of Crédit Agricole on our English-language website.


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