“independence” was the wish

It all started in September 2015 when the National Credit Mutuel Confederation, which oversees all federations, renounced its union status to become a cooperative company with variable capital under a 1901 law, as required by the supervisory body, the ECB. . It is clear that there is a serious problem: Michel Lucas – a Breton from Lorient – wears two hats: president of CNCM and president of the CM 11-CIC group piloted from Strasbourg, the most important component of Crédit Mutuel; some say there is a conflict of interest. “Today, the confederation cannot make decisions on the federations, they are autonomous. But in a cooperative system, all you need is a majority vote. CM-CIC has this majority”describes the identifier of the file (The world, Friday, November 13, 2015). However, the CM 11-CIC group unites eleven federations and its subsidiary CIC, while the Arkéa group unites only two federations (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne and Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest, as well as around forty specialized subsidiaries). As a result, the former is heavier than the latter.

This event falls in the middle of the election campaign for regional elections to be held in December. Members of Parliament, candidates, business leaders support CMB and Arkéa President Jean-Pierre Denis and General Manager Ronan Le Moal. An example with Marc Le Fur, MP for Lamballe and leader of the right-wing regional list: he talks about risk “Trust in Britain, akin to banking colonialism, is a real takeover that will have the effect of depriving Britain of an important decision-making center that has proven its worth and is doing well.” (Western France, Brittany, 20 October 2015). Immediately Jean-Pierre Denis opened fire; explains what the current reform will lead to “The almost immediate questioning of our decision-making centers and a cascade of job cuts in the name of rationalization.” And then the word “autonomy” appears: “We will not allow anything that reduces our freedom of decision. For an obvious reason: autonomy is indivisible […] If our 334 local funds believe that CM Arkéa is not for sale, this reform does not concern us. Crédit Mutuel is owned by its customers – members. » (Western France14-15 November 2015)

The chosen ones watch the action

The Denis-Le Moal tandem is now declared war “The status of an independent cooperative and mutualist group, unlike the rest of Crédit Mutuel” (Le Figaro Economics, Tuesday, January 16, 2016). Therefore, it is about leaving the National Credit Mutual Confederation, which is the main structure of the cooperative group and its central body. In advance, the local reciprocal heads were asked to approve this project. “We had a high participation rate: 90.8%. Not a single Breton administrator voted in favor of the reform carried out by the confederation. Nineteen abstained. 99.3% of local bank directors support the autonomy of the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group”Jean-Pierre greets Denis (Western France, Brittany, Wednesday, December 2, 2015). A Soviet-style account that will make those who have little idea about the composition of the board of local funds laugh. Often the presidents are puppets and the managers are figures “chosen” by the fund manager who rules both by the nose. These elected officials are the “good people” who obey the technostructure; destroyed the mutualistic spirit that prevailed in the past. The president of the local foundation was a real boss, he didn’t “dog” (sic)

A book should be written about the bipartisan initiatives as well as the many adventures that will mark 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. National Credit Mutuel Confederation meeting “in the disciplinary structure” to reprimand Arkéa group – decision taken after adversarial procedure and presentation of the results of the chairman, independent rapporteur on the Confederation’s complaints against Arkéa. (echoes, Thursday, January 12, 2017). Confederate President Nicolas Terry, who was very confident, could confirm: “All the recent events are aimed at protecting the unity of the group. Today, its main structure, the National Credit Mutual Confederation, operates in accordance with all requirements. The Council of State stated the law, classifying Archea’s policy of systematic obstruction as “subsequent”. The European Central Bank has just confirmed that the Confederation is its only interlocutor. The text voted by the Arkéa members’ representatives is an amphigraph, it says it all and it says the opposite: to stay with Crédit Mutuel, to divide it into six different groups. What is this true-false break strategy called? In addition, this vote represents 334 local banks, but Crédit Mutuel also has 1,800 local banks in favor of group unity, which is the only reasonable option. » (The world, Saturday, February 25, 2017). It is called mass. “On April 7, Arkéa’s board of directors unanimously approved the payment of the variable part of the bonuses “for bank numbers 1 and 2” “even if at least with a surprising criterion: 12 % […] indexed on “freedom and complete independence” to the bank’s National Credit Mutual Confederation” (Chained Duck12 April 2017)

Ronan Le Moal and Jean-Pierre Denis are asked to leave or leave

It is during these years that we are reaching February 2020 in the conditions of continuous struggle. Thunder: during an extraordinary board meeting, Arkéa CEO Ronan Le Moal announces his departure. “After working in the group for more than twenty-five years, I open an important professional page with emotion. It was the right time for me. I have never hidden my desire to be an entrepreneur, and therefore, of course, this is the way I want to go today »he explains (Telegram, Thursday, February 13, 2020). Why does the managing director, who has implemented the independence project for six years, suddenly leave? L’ “We want to be entrepreneurs” it strongly resembles a “political” explanation that hides fatigue in the face of programmed failure or disagreement with the president or members of the board of directors.

The second lightning strikes a year later. On Monday, March 15, 2021, Arkéa’s chairman, Jean-Pierre Denis, announced that he would not seek an extension of his term as a director at the general meeting in May; therefore, he resigns from the presidency. “Ultimately, it’s two promoters “independence project” Arkéa v. Crédit Mutuel National Confederation, the central body of the divested mutualist group. This project, called “Azadlig”, which has caused numerous disputes on both sides since 2014, was “suspended” last year. » (TelegramFriday, March 12, 2021). “My walk does not question anything”, says Mr. Denis. The independence project remains on the agenda “Because this is not a project of a leader, but of a whole group.” “Jean-Pierre Denis hopes to leave to depersonalize the independence project. » (Telegram, Wednesday, March 17, 2021). Denis would not want to give up very lucrative functions if the file presented itself well in the hope of medium-term success. L’“independence” With the prospect of becoming a “great” banker freed from Confederate patronage, it was the great work of his professional career. His argument remains questionable: “The confederation interfered with the selections, which were primarily the responsibility of the authorities of the Arkéa group. It violated my freedom of choice.”he notes (Western France, Brittany, Wednesday 17 Mats 2021); he seems to have forgotten the existence of the general assembly of the board of directors and the presidents of the local cooperatives, who have the power to decide between the two bodies. “choice” strategic.

It was under these conditions that Julien Carmona, a pied-noir from Egypt, took the presidency and was unknown to the directors and members. He does not have the guts of a mutualist as he is deputy managing director of Nexity, a leading French real estate developer. But his knowledge of banking is undeniable, having held executive positions at BNP Paribas, BPCE, Caisse d’Epargne, Natixis and Scor. We learn that she’s friends with both of her former suitors, Denise: “He did me the honor and friendship to think of me when he started thinking about leaving the band. » Journalist Jean Le Borgne asks him: “Does the future of the group depend on its independence?” » Answer: “There is no doubt for me. First, because the president is the person with the mandate. Funds overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in 2018. I join his project to join the group. After that, I don’t want to put too much weight on the words between independence and full autonomy. It’s a synonym for me. » (TelegramWednesday, May 12, 2021)

Every war ends one day

The same speech during the presentation of the results of 2021 at the beginning of 2022 – “Historical Results” – : “Archea’s independence remains a pillar of the group’s strategy. This is obvious and necessary […] Today, there is no alternative to completely withdraw from Crédit Mutuel”insists the new president (Western FranceBrittany, 26-27 February 2022). “Divorce remains a complicated choice. We know that the authorities are not keen on this scenario. We were told: if you respect confederal discipline, it’s in, otherwise it’s out Explain Arkéa CEO Hélène Bernicot and Deputy CEO Anne Le Goff as they begin to talk about negotiations (TelegramTuesday, June 14, 2022)

A change in tone at the end of August 2022. “We present the scenario of “guaranteed strategic autonomy”. We do this with significant domestic political strength. We brought together not only the board of directors of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, but also the federations of Brittany and the South West in all three cases. The entire social institution, including workers’ representatives, is on this line. As soon as we enter into a real discussion and something that attracts us, we are ready to move towards this project without regrets and with great enthusiasm », announces Julien Carmona. With size concession: “I am ready to return to the collective framework and forget about independence, but in this case we need elements that tell us that we can rest easy in case of crossing the red line, abuse of power. This right of veto will not be exercised in the event of a banking crisis or the risk of jeopardizing group cohesion. » (echoes, Tuesday, August 30, 2022). Clearly, Arkéa says it’s willing to give up on a goal it’s been aiming for since 2015 — so far in vain: “compulsion” it means leaving the National Credit Mutual Confederation purely and simply. Knowing that the Crédit Mutuel brand is the property of CNCM. If Arkéa managed to break away from the Confederacy, it would no longer be able to use this brand.

With the treaty of alliance of 1532, the Duchy of Brittany had already lost its independence!

Bernard Morvan

Photo credit: DR
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