The mysteries of the governance of mutual credit banks

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President, Crédit Mutuel

Seminar Business life | Friday January 11, 2008 - 9h30 - 12h

Mutual banks have a method of governance which would make any management scholar tremble : for example, the Crédit Mutuel bank has 24,000 administrators for 35,000 employees. It is organised in a federated system : its 2,000 autonomous units are governed by a board of directors elected by the members (the clients). The local administrators elect the regional administrators, who, in turn, elect the national administrators. The president is elected by the general council for a renewable five-year term of office. Decisions are taken on the principle of 'one man, one vote'. There is no equity capital other than that given by the members, or supplied by the accumulated monetary reserves. Even though this system may appear strange, mutual banks control 60 % of the retail banking market. The Crédit Mutuel bank bought out the CIC bank, and the Crédit Agricole bank purchased the Crédit Lyonnais bank. What is the key to such efficacy ?

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