A need to federate emerged rapidly. On July 14, 1885, Raiffeisen went to Strasbourg to meet a gathering of 122 members representing the 24 banks in the Basse-Alsace region and the five banks of the Haute-Alsace region. The Haute-Alsace and Basse-Alsace federations were created following this meeting. The Moselle federation was established in 1896. The first joint meeting of the three federations took place in Metz on December 6, 1900.

Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale :

Above all, an independent federation of the Alsace and Lorraine cooperative banks (Fédération indépendante des associations coopératives d’Alsace et de Lorraine) was created in Colmar on May 25, 1905.

On March 27, 1919, a central body for the Alsace and Lorraine rural banks (Caisse centrale de la Fédération des caisses rurales d’Alsace et de Lorraine) was created. As well as its central clearing functions, this institution was assigned the task of defending the rural banks’ financial interests. In December 1919, it changed its name to “Banque Fédérative”.

The final stage of unification took place in 1921. On April 7, in Strasbourg, the Fédération indépendante des associations coopératives d’Alsace et de Lorraine and the “Revision” federation (a controlling federation created by the German imperial government in 1903) decided to unite as the “Fédération agricole d’Alsace et de Lorraine” which included all the Crédit Mutuel banks in Alsace and Lorraine. A century later, this federation is the same legal entity as the present Fédération du Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe.

Two years after the end of World War I, Fédération agricole d’Alsace et de Lorraine was faced with several major challenges. First of all, it had to successfully merge two entities that had been separate up to then. Moreover, the restitution of Alsace and Lorraine to France raised a number of legal and monetary challenges. Having been founded in the late 19th century in regions annexed by Prussia, the local banks had to adapt the Crédit Mutuel structure to French law, which at the time did not contain any provision for cooperative entities. Also, the German monetary instruments held by the members and local banks, which ceased to be legal tender from the end of 1918, had to be exchanged for French cash.

These challenges were rapidly dealt with, enabling the future Fédération du Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe to embark on a second phase of its expansion. In the inter-war period, the movement founded by Raiffeisen demonstrated its ability to adapt. Crédit Mutuel took advantage of the economic prosperity of the 1920s to strengthen its presence.