The former enemy brothers of Crédit Mutuel show their reconciliation in Strasbourg – Economy
Once the ink has dried, comes the time to publicly display the reconciliation. Three weeks after an agreement putting an end to fifteen years of conflict, Julien Carmona, president of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, and Nicolas Théry, president of Crédit Mutuel and the Eastern federation, showed themselves side by side for the first time this Friday.
“It’s a peace, a reconciliation, which does not suffer from any ambiguity”, greeted Nicolas Théry to applause on the stage of the Zénith de Strasbourg, in front of around 5,500 members of Crédit Mutuel Center Est Europe, the largest federation of Credit Mutuel. At his side, Julien Carmona, more reserved, said he was “very happy” to be in Strasbourg for “this reconciliation which warms the heart”. The two entities, which have been at war for years, have “a lot of common values, a lot of shared values”, he added.
Isabelle Ferrand, new managing director of the National Confederation of Crédit Mutuel (CNCM), the central body which oversees all of the group’s federations, welcomed “a new era which is dawning”. A year after a general meeting that ended with Nolwenn Leroy, a nod to Brittany where Arkéa’s head office is located, this time it was pianist Alain Lanty who opened the concert, performing several French songs, where it was particularly a question of estrangement and love.
This meeting between the two leaders, “unimaginable” a few years ago, according to a close friend of Nicolas Théry, occurs three weeks after the signing of a historic agreement.
“We have lived badly in recent years,” said Daniel Baal, CEO of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, the main entity of the group, which brings together fourteen of the 18 regional federations and the CIC. He was then delighted to have been able to discuss with Hélène Bernicot, general manager of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, to “soon propose a project”, hoping that this “can continue”.
Internal tensions had turned into a legal conflict in 2014, opposing Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, whose headquarters are in Relecq-Kerhuon, near Brest, and the CNCM. The first accused the CNCM of centralization and favoritism in favor of the other dominant entity, the Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale (formerly Crédit Mutuel CM-11), which today brings together fourteen federations. Nicolas Théry, chairman of the Crédit Mutuel group, is also chairman of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale.
In 2018, relations had soured to the point that the Breton branch wanted to emancipate itself from the group, a project led by the ex-president of Arkéa, Jean-Pierre Denis, but which never came to fruition. Elected president of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa in 2021 to replace Jean-Pierre Denis, Julien Carmona admitted in an interview with AFP that “the supervision of Crédit Mutuel, established by law, had not prevented Arkéa from developing” . While reaffirming to enroll “without any hesitation” in the project of independence of his bank, he still denounced “a tendency to centralization”.
But as the months passed, and while the independence project seemed to have stalled, discussions resumed in the summer of 2022, before concluding in early May. The agreement provides that “the regional groups freely determine their strategy and more broadly their business project, in compliance with prudential rules”, and the existence for the federations of a “right of veto (…) in the event of ‘harm to their vital interests’.
A position of vice-president of the CNMC, “which will fall by right to the president of the Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne federation”, has also been created, allowing Arkéa to regain this position which it held until its abolition in January 2011.
letelegramme Fr Trans