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"From the Société Générale de Crédit Industriel et Commercial to the CIC Group"

A decree signed by Napoléon III on May 7, 1859 created Société Générale de Crédit Industriel et Commercial. According to its first promoters, Crédit Industriel et Commercial was to be a Franco-English international financial institution, essentially an investment bank. Thus, together with its French directors, there were an English director, William Gladstone (representing "one of the Bank of England houses"), a former Minister of Finance of Prussia, David Hansemann, and finally, Russian royalty, Prince Soltykoff.

Crédit Industriel et Commercial was established during the most prosperous years of the Second Empire. The rise of industry and building of railroads posed financial problems of an unknown magnitude. The French bankers, who only had access to their personal fortunes and limited private capital, did not have the means to resolve them.

The founders of CIC came up with the novel idea ie to lap the unused capital resources of the public at large and use these funds to finance the needs of business. However in reality, it is far from their original plan, so CIC voluntarily limited its strategy to Paris and its immediate surroundings. Since it needed to offer its customers throughout France, the same financial services as with other financial institutions, it allowed the set-up of the local banks.

In 1864, Société Marseillaise de Crédit was founded. In 1865, Société Lyonnaise de Dépôts et de Crédit Industriel was founded. Then Société de Crédit et de Dépôts du Nord that was created in 1866, became Crédit du Nord in 1871 and ended its affiliation with CIC in 1876. Finally Société Bordelaise and Société Nancéienne were successively created in 1880 and 1881.

CIC followed a policy of non-intervention for the banks whose creation it had endorsed. The result was that these banks so created became completely distant and independent from CIC. From 1913, these banks found themselves threatened by the rapid expansion of a network of agencies from larger Parisian institutions. Faced with the necessity of increasing their capital to meet the growth of their own business, they turned to CIC. As a result, CIC resumed its relationship with these banks that later returned to the group: Banque Scalbert, Banque Dupont, Société Normande, Crédit Havrais, Crédit Nantais, Credit de l’Ouest, Banque Régionale de l’Ouest, and Banque d’Alsace et de Lorraine.

During the banking crisis of 1930 – 1935, majority of the regional banks requested the financial support of CIC through its participation in their capital. This time, CIC took the decision to limit its intervention in these banks where it had representatives on the Board of Directors. Conceptualized in 1920 & strengthened in 1931, the CIC Group was thus created. It has since grown with the arrival of Banque Transatlantique, Banque Journel and Banque Régionale de l’Ain.

During the period of 1930 to 1980, the framework of the CIC Group began to take shape and in 1982, with the Law of February 11, 1982, it nationalized CIC and its associated regional banks.

After the nationalization, the group was further reinforced by the integration of Banque de l’Union Européenne.

This law fundamentally altered the nature of the shareholders of the banks of the CIC Group and led to its reorganization in 1984 as follows:-

a. The creation of a holding company for the Group, Compagnie Financière du CIC, and the transformation of the CIC into a Parisian bank, CIC de Paris

b. The creation of a specialized bank, CIC Union Européenne, International et Cie., which regrouped all the international activities

c. The reinforcement of its equity base by the entry of a new shareholder, The Groupe des Assurances Nationales (G.A.N.).

In 1998, CIC Group has been privatized again and the corporate structure has been reorganized. The bank is now a public company listed in Paris Stock Exchange, with more than 97% shareholding controlled by Crédit Mutuel Group in France.

In 2004, CIC has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with banca Popolare di Milano in Europe, and a cooperation agreement with Bank of East Asia which, among other things, enables CIC to expand its international reach and respond to rising demand from its corporate customers for banking and related services in China.

In 2008, CM-CIC acquired the consumer banking operations of Citibank in Germany for a total amount of €4.7 billion. The transaction was completed in December 2008. Read more.

In November 2008, an agreement was signed by BFCM to take over control of Cofidis), the consumer credit arm of Les 3 Suisses International, one of the major distance selling distributor in Europe. Read more.

In April 2009, the acquisition of Spanish Bank, Banco Popular network in France has been renamed and took the name of CIC Iberbanco.
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In December 2010, Crédit Mutuel was named French Bank of the Year by The Banker
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