Calyon Credit Agricole CIB

Calyon Crédit Agricole CIB is the corporate and investment banking arm of the French retail banking giant Crédit Agricole. Calyon Crédit Agricole CIB employs 13,000 people. It is present in 58 countries and is headquartered in Paris, which is unusual as most large non-American investment banks; even French investment banks usually have a head office in London. Unlike BNP Paribas, Calyon Crédit Agricole sees and markets itself as more of a large French based bank that has a need for an international presence rather than as an international bank that happens to have a strong french history and customer base.

There are a number of products offered by Calyon Crédit Agricole CIB. There is a large French based operation that is called “Coverage and Investment Banking”. This covers offering investment banking advice to financial institutions, particularly in France. The Commercial Banking division, that deals with the banking needs, such as lending and trade financing, of large companies. Reflecting the French roots of Crédit Agricole this also tends to have a strong French base and deals mostly with French corporate clients or (to a lesser extent) with foreign companies that are trading in France.

There are two trading departments, both with more of an international focus than the corporate and investment banking arms. There is a fixed income division that deals both with the in house trading of debt securities, but also with selling securities to investors. There is also a division that is called Equity Brokerage and Derivatives which deals with the equity markets. The Structured Finance division is a loan and advisory business that helps companies raise finance without either giving away too much control or having too much of a liability for fixed credit payments.

Crédit Agricole has a separate Private Banking brand, which is also offered to Calyon Crédit Agricole CIB customers. Although private banking, which deals with the investment and borrowing needs of wealthy and mobile individuals, is necessarily an international business, it is largely an outgrowth of Crédit Agricole’s and its constituent bank’s French customer base.

Calyon is a relatively recent investment bank, being founded when Credit Lyonnaise transferred the assets of its Corporate and Investment Banking division to Crédit Agricole. Calyon Crédit Agricole CIB hit the headlines when a New York trader took a number of unauthorized positions that caused a loss of $350 million. Although he was fired, along with a number of his supervisors this was responsible for the largest loss that the Crédit Agricole group had ever recorded.

The parent company, Crédit Agricole, is by some measures the largest retail bank in France and the second largest in Europe. It used to be one of the largest co-operative banks in the world, and was founded as a bank for French peasant farmers to get credit and other banking services. It floated on the Parisian stock market later. In retail terms it has a very low presence in urban areas considering its size. Partly due to its co-operative nature, and also due to its focus on rural and retail banking Crédit Agricole did not have a large investment banking presence despite being a large retail bank, and it was largely beefed up by its acquisition of Crédit Lyonnaise.

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