Financing the economy, the mutualist way

Financial performance and mutualist efficiency: the Crédit Mutuel group is stepping up to serve the collective interest

Credit: Dušan Cvetanović 

What is your analysis of Crédit Mutuel’s performance in 2023?
In 2023, the Crédit Mutuel group achieved a record performance, with net revenue of €4.6bn, which was an increase of 8.4 percent, demonstrating strong sales capacity and its operational efficiency as well as financial stability.

In a complex economic environment marked by persistent inflation and changing monetary policy, these results attest to the effectiveness of Crédit Mutuel’s diversified universal banking and insurance model and the relevance of its strategic choices in serving the collective interest.

We are allocating more than 90 percent of revenue to reserves for development in order to offer the best possible quality of service to our customers and members through innovative, useful and solidarity-based offers and, more generally, through actions that benefit society as a whole.

Our group relies on the efforts of its 84,600 employees and 20,000 elected members via its local networks to serve its 37.8 million individual, professional and corporate customers in France and Europe.

We can see that the crisis is accelerating transformations, in particular awareness of the environmental and climate emergency. How does the group integrate this challenge and step up efforts in its strategy?
In view of the issues of global warming, loss of biodiversity and damages caused by exposure to climate hazards, we are stepping up our eco-responsible initiatives and offerings to support our customers with their ecological and energy transition projects.

Strongly committed to the decarbonisation of the economy and the protection of biodiversity, the group continues to implement sectoral policies with the objective of contributing to carbon neutrality in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. This is reflected in particular in the publication of decarbonisation targets in the context of the group’s membership of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA).

In addition to strong strategic ambitions, in 2023 the Crédit Mutuel group continued to integrate climate and environmental risks into its overall risk management and developed a methodology for assessing its customers’ geographic exposure to climate hazards.

The group is reducing its exposure to activities with high social and environmental impacts: by moving away from unconventional fossil fuels; by ceasing to finance coal-fired power plants and mining operations; by strengthening its climate commitments and sector policies in sectors with high carbon intensity; and by continuing its commitments in key sectors given its business model, such as the agricultural and wine-growing sectors, as well as in the agri-food and residential sectors.

How is your engagement in the regions concretely reflected?
The group continues to fully play its role in financing the economy by supporting the needs and projects of all its customers and members, particularly the most vulnerable, both in bancassurance and through its many other services. The purpose of a bank, particularly a cooperative bank such as Crédit Mutuel, is to stay as close as possible to its customers and give them support at every stage in their lives.

The mutualist model enables us to respond to the expectations of the current era

Our decentralised organisation facilitates short decision times, enabling us to be highly responsive to all our customers’ needs. This regional proximity enables us to make quick decisions based on our insight into local realities. This support for economic development in the regions is part of our approach as a financial partner over the long term. It includes support also through our private equity structures (more than €4.8bn in equity in 600 innovative or high-growth companies).

The quality of our customer relationships is also a priority – in 2024, the group has again been ranked number one by BearingPoint-Kantar for customer relations in the banking sector. The commitment of our employees and elected directors and investment in new technologies are the strengths of our group in addressing the challenges of today’s world. Within the Crédit Mutuel group, we build success day by day in each of our local co-operative banks and network branches, serving everyone.

More generally, how does the mutualist approach serve as a response to the challenges ahead?
The mutualist model enables us to respond to the expectations of the current era. Our values are based on proximity, with a regionally rooted organisation serving development in general and that of economic players, enabling us to provide the best possible service to our customers.

The solidity afforded by this model gives the group the means to act in support of the economy and also to engage in social and environmental initiatives. Because the group is a co-operative bank with no shareholders, it only has its customers to satisfy. This is a guarantee of its independence and freedom of action. It is also a differentiating factor and underpins the strength of its commitment.

Our aim is to remain profoundly mutualist, useful and supportive, at the service of members, customers and society. Our founding aims were mutualist and this approach remains central to everything we do. We want to remain efficient and supportive – always enhancing our performance so that we can also enhance our support.