After World War II, the French government gradually introduced specific regulations that made it easier for the Crédit Mutuel local banks to operate. Under the Law of September 10, 1947, they were given cooperative status.

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Above all, the Order of October 16, 1958 established a defi nitive framework for the Crédit Mutuel organization. This Order defi nes the status of the local banks along with that of the Confederation to which the regional federations have belonged since 1959. As noted by André Gueslin, the 1958 Order is of fundamental importance as France, unlike Germany, had not previously had any legal status for mutual banks.”

The post-war boom period from the 1950s to the 1970s provided favorable conditions that enabled Crédit Mutuel to grow at a sustained rate. As well as strong economic growth, the period also saw a mass movement toward the use of banking services. The switch in 1968 to monthly wage payments drove the move to open current accounts, helped by the direct payment of wages into bank accounts and the mandatory use of checks for payments of more than a certain amount. Crédit Mutuel “adapted to the new needs generated by economic growth and urbanization”, notes André Gueslin. This period also saw a real estate boom which resulted in strong growth in home loans.

The end of the 1960s saw a shift in Crédit Mutuel’s customer base. It began to expand beyond the farming sector, in line with the social changes then underway. In Alsace, for example, the weight of the primary sector in the working population dropped from 22% in 1954 to 5% in 1980. By the end of 1979, salaried workers accounted for 77% of loans granted.

Crédit Mutuel developed in particular in the areas of housing loans and personal loans. “To meet housing needs in both rural and city areas, Crédit Mutuel became the bank for households and individuals, abandoning its former focus as a bank for farmers. This change, however, did not mean a rupture,” says André Gueslin. New bank products appeared in the market, particularly home savings plans, Codevi sustainable development accounts and PEA equity savings plans. The Livret Bleu savings account, unique to Crédit Mutuel, was introduced by the Supplementary Budget Act of December 27, 1975.

In addition to traditional financial products, Crédit Mutuel has constantly pursued a very active strategy of diversification and innovation. It became a pioneer in “bankinsurance” when it created Assurances du Crédit Mutuel in 1970/71. The creation in 1986 of the home surveillance and protection subsidiary EPS marked another major step in this diversification, as did the partnership agreement to launch a mobile telephone business entered into with NRJ Group in 2005. The Wacken site (Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale’s present head office) was inaugurated in 1970 and the following year the Bischenberg training center was set up 30 kilometers from Strasbourg.

In parallel, Crédit Mutuel has built its reputation as an innovative bank, particularly thanks to its dynamic approach in the area of new technology. The processing center set up in Strasbourg in May 1962, Centre Mécanographique du Crédit Mutuel (CMCM), handles a constantly growing volume of account transactions; right from the year of its inception it was equipped with an IBM 1401 magnetic tape computer that allowed transactions to be input on perforated or graphite cards.

The 1970s were years of dramatic change, in terms of both equipment and interbank relations. In 1977 Crédit Mutuel joined the SWIFT(1) system. In the mid-1970s, the gradual building of a proprietary information system led to new services such as Cybermut, a secure payments system.


In 1993, The Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe and Sud-Est Federations set up a joint Federal Bank (Caisse Fédérale).

Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale
comprises the Crédit Mutuel local banks from the following federations:

Centre Est Europe (Strasbourg), Sud-est (Lyon), Île-de-france (Paris), Savoie-Mont Blanc (Annecy), Midi-Atlantique (Toulouse), Loire-Atlantique Et Centre Ouest (Nantes), Centre (Orléans), Normandie (Caen), Dauphiné-Vivarais (Valence), Méditerranéen (Marseille), Anjou (Angers), Massif Central (Clermont-Ferrand) Et Antilles-Guyane (Fort-De-France).

All these breakthroughs led to the establishment of Euro-Information on March 1, 1978. There is a constant flow of development projects: loan chains, eliminating circulation of paper checks, real-time accounting on customer accounts, etc.

The 1980s were marked by the emergence of electronic payments, a field in which Crédit Mutuel played a leading role, winning several very large contracts for supermarket chains, highway tolls, etc.

Little by little, the Federation expanded its scope. After expanding to incorporate the Franche-Comté region in 1972, it changed its name to Fédération du Crédit Mutuel Alsace Lorraine Franche Comté. It adopted its present name (Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe) in 1992 following the merger, approved on April 23, 1992 and then in Strasbourg on May 22, of the Alsace-Lorraine-Franche-Comté and Centre-Est (Bourgogne-Champagne) federations.

Partnerships with other federations began the following year, ultimately giving rise 25 years later to Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale.

In 1993, the rédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe and Sud-Est federations set up a joint federal bank (Caisse Fédérale). BFCM became a holding company, taking the form of a French public limited company that holds and expands all the federation’s shareholdings.

The Caisse Fédérale was subsequently joined by the Ile de France federation (2002) and then by the Savoie-Mont Blanc (2006) and Midi-Atlantique (2009) federations. In 2011, the Loire-Atlantique et Centre-Ouest, Centre, Normandie, Dauphiné-Vivarais and Méditerranéen federations also joined to form the so-called CM10 group, which became CM11 with the arrival of the Anjou federation in 2012. In 2018, the CM11 name was dropped and replaced by “Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale”, the name that now denotes the group formed by the 11 Crédit Mutuel federations, BFCM and its subsidiaries.

The group expanded again in 2020 when it was joined by the Antilles-Guyane and Massif-Central federations. It has also expanded through some particularly significant acquisitions.

In 1998, BFCM bought 67% of the capital of CIC, going on to acquire the remaining 23% stake still held by Groupama in 2001. CIC’s shares were delisted in August 2017. CIC is one of France’s oldest commercial banks, having been founded on May 7, 1859 as Société Générale de Crédit Industriel et Commercial by an imperial decree of Napoleon III.

In June 2008, BFCM acquired a 100% stake in the French subsidiary of Grupo Banco Popular Español, which was renamed CIC Iberbanco in 2009 and merged with CIC in 2020, and in December 2008 it also purchased the whole of Citibank Germany (now Targobank Germany). On November 18, 2008 BFCM signed an agreement to take a controlling majority stake in Cofidis Participations, a subsidiary of 3 Suisses International (3SI). BFCM raised its stake in Cofidis Group (as it is now called) to 80% in 2020.

In 2016, an agreement was signed with General Electric France and Germany, enabling Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale to become one of the leaders in the factoring and leasing markets in both these countries.


In 2020, by taking “Listening and acting together” as its corporate purpose and becoming the first bank to adopt “benefit corporation” status, Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale forcefully reaffirmed the more modern and meaningful values that make it an outstanding responsible bank. Nearly 160 years after Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first Crédit Mutuel cooperative bank, showing the measure of his pioneering spirit, this new phase is the next chapter in a long and beautiful story. Its strategic plan, ensemble#nouveaumonde plus vite, plus loin ! (together#today’s world, faster, further), is a natural part of this new chapter.

Raiffeisen, le pionnier du mutualisme - Jean-Marie Says - éditions Coprur - 2012

Le Crédit Mutuel : De la caisse rurale à la banque sociale - André Gueslin - éditions Coprur - 1982

Mulhouse Saint-Joseph : au service de la Cité 1896-1996 - Jean Beck - éditions Coprur - 1996

(1) Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication