The 2012 Summit is honoured to announce two major partners from the cooperative financial sector in France and greater Europe: Crédit Mutuel and Crédit Agricole. Crédit Mutuel and Crédit Agricole are two of the most successful cooperatives on the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Global 300 list, making their presence at the Summit a welcome and highly anticipated addition. “By partnering with the Summit, both organizations will have the opportunity to demonstrate how their respective models perform, while actively taking part in a vast network of cooperatives from around the world working in different spheres of activity,” said Stéphane Bertrand, Executive Director of the 2012 Summit. Read on to learn more about Crédit Mutuel and Crédit Agricole. Crédit Mutuel: France's leading P&C bankinsurer Crédit Mutuel was founded in the 19th century in the Rhineland (Germany) by Raiffeisen, a German municipal civil servant who was inspired after witnessing the poverty of the rural citizens. Today, the Crédit Mutuel group is France's leading P&C bankinsurer. It also ranks fourth in life insurance and third in consumer credit. The Crédit Mutuel group includes the Crédit Mutuel network and its subsidiaries. As a cooperative and mutualist bank, the group is wholly member-owned and is not listed on the stock exchange. Crédit Mutuel and CIC, the group's two main entities, have a network of nearly 6,000 points of sale. The group provides expertise in all areas of finance to 30 million customers, including 27 million retail banking customers. Crédit Mutuel's local banks each belong to one of 18 regional federations, which in turn belong to the Confédération nationale du Crédit Mutuel, the central body that heads the network. CIC, the group's holding company, operates a branch network in the Paris region comprised of five regional banks and subsidiaries specialized in all areas of finance and insurance. The group's international activities now account for close to a fifth of its business. The Crédit Mutuel group has also signed a cooperative agreement with Desjardins Group, Canada's leading cooperative financial group and one of the three co-hosts of the International Summit of Cooperatives, under which both groups will be able to better serve their respective clienteles on both sides of the Atlantic. Crédit Agricole, France's leading bank As a retail bank leader in France and in Europe, Crédit Agricole is a first-class partner for the economies in which it operates. Located in 70 countries around the world, Crédit Agricole is the second largest cooperative group on the prestigious ICA Global 300 list. The strength of its more than 11,600 retail bank branches worldwide and the expertise of its specialised subsidiaries give Crédit Agricole an effective presence in all areas of banking and finance. Its 160,000 employees work to satisfy the banking needs of its 54 million customers. Crédit Agricole intends to fulfil its role as a European leader on a global scale while complying with the commitments that stem from its mutualist background. Its development is committed to responsible growth, focused on servicing the real economy. At the core of Crédit Agricole are its 2,530 local banks, which hold the majority of the regional banks' share capital through more than 6.5 million members, who appoint their 32,227 directors. Crédit Agricole has strong regional roots. Its 39 regional banks serve individuals, farmers, professionals, businesses and local communities alike, and it is the French people's number one day-to-day banking partner. Crédit Agricole's regional banks own a majority stake in Crédit Agricole S.A. (which owns 25% of share capital in each regional bank, excluding the regional bank of Corsica). The discussion body for the regional banks is the Fédération Nationale du Crédit Agricole (FNCA).