In the 18 regional federations, specialist teams, including nearly 1,000 agriculture advisors, provide personal advice to farmers on a day-to-day basis and support them in their businesses and projects.
A nationwide federation dedicated to farming, the Fédération du Crédit Mutuel Agricole et Rural, is a sign of the Group’s long-standing and continuing commitment to farming and the rural community.
Demographic transition and young farmers' settlement
Particular attention is paid to helping new entrants to the farming business settle in. With nearly 50% of farmers due to reach retirement age in the next 10 years, the handover to the next generation is a crucial factor in maintaining viable, livable and sustainable farming in all regions.
That's why Crédit Mutuel caisses offer commercial advantages that make it easier for project leaders to enter the business.
Some federations also offer “farmland carry-over” arrangements that allow new farmers to defer land purchases and in so avoid burdening themselves with too much debt at the start of their careers.
Crédit Mutuel has also shown its support for agricultural colleges by sponsoring a video
competition called “Je filme le métier qui me plait” (Filming the job I love). Students produce videos that seek to promote a particular aspect of farming or rural life. The winners receive grants from the federations that enable them to fund study trips or learning activities. This initiative is sponsored by the Ministry of National Education, Youth, and Sports, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
Supporting our customers make the ecological transition
Crédit Mutuel is also firmly committed to helping its customers carry out projects related to the environmental transition and new consumer expectations.
Several groups have defined their actions in this field through written publications (sector policy for Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and support policy for Crédit Mutuel Arkéa). These two groups offer impact loans at subsidized rates and advantageous financing solutions for these projects, thanks to the support of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale is also offering assistance with the remaining cost of the purchase as part of the carbon diagnostics under the French recovery Plan, as well as a €500 subsidy to finance the certification costs of the “Haute Qualité Environnementale” (high environmental quality) level 3 and “Agriculture Biologique” (organic farming) environmental excellence labels.
Such projects can also benefit from preferential guarantee terms, thanks to the commitment made by all the Crédit Mutuel federations to the National Initiative for French Agriculture (INAF), a scheme launched by the Ministry of Agriculture with support from the European Investment Fund.
The agreement signed in 2018 with crowdfunding website Blue Bees also aims to facilitate the financing of the social and environmental transition in the farming sector.
Supporting investments related to the energy transition
The Group’s commitment to the energy transition has a large audience among farming customers, who account for a significant proportion of the renewable energy equipment projects we have financed. A partnership signed in February 2023 between Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and EDF ENR will facilitate the installation of photovoltaic panels on farms and agricultural cooperatives, customers of this group.
Climate risk and increased insurance offer
Aware of the high volatility of agricultural yields, induced by the multiplication of new risks and the unprecedented explosion of climatic risk, the Group has decided to strengthen its crop insurance offer by signing a strategic partnership with the Allianz France insurance group. This offer is based on the new regulations currently being implemented.
Supporting fragile customers in agriculture
The Group pays particular attention to helping these customers through short-term difficulties. For instance, the group was involved in developing a roadmap for preventing anxiety among farmers which the public authorities unveiled in November 2021. This contribution was a reminder of the group’s commitment to provide its customers with support tailored to their own situation, particularly during periods of economic difficulty. During such farming crises, bank advisors offer a range of solutions to help farmers with their cash flows without putting a strain on their ability to invest for the future.
Each of them has recently been trained to detect signs of malaise in their farming clients and to respond and alert in case of distress.