It’s the end of a fifteen-year conflict. Julien Carmona, president of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, and Nicolas Théry, president of Crédit Mutuel and the Eastern federation, showed up together on Friday at the general meeting of Crédit Mutuel Center Est Europe. All this a few weeks after an agreement ratifying the end of a long estrangement between the two banking entities.
“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 the largest federation of Crédit Mutuel. At his side, Julien Carmona said he was “very happy” to be there 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.
This meeting, “unimaginable” a few years ago, according to a close friend of Nicolas Théry, comes three weeks after the signing of a historic agreement. Internal tensions had turned into a legal conflict in 2014, opposing Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, whose headquarters are in Le Relecq-Kerhuon, near Brest, and the CNCM, the central body which oversees all of the group’s federations. 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 14 federations.
Arkéa wanted to emancipate
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 Mr. Denis, Julien Carmona recognized 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. Until this beautiful family photo.