Crédit Commercial de France

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CCF logo, 2005

Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) was a commercial bank in France, headquartered in Paris, avenue des Champs-Élysées. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC in April 2000, and was renamed HSBC France on 1 November 2005.

Able to trace its origins in banking as far back as 1858, by the end of the 1920s the bank had grown to be the sixth largest in France.

Origins of CCF[edit]

Ernest Méjà and Benjamin Rossier founded Banque Suisse et Française at 27, rue Laffite, Paris, on 1 July 1894. They had previously worked together for Banque Fédérale S.A. and their new firm began by taking over the business of the Swiss bank’s Paris branch. Méjà remained as joint managing director of the bank with Rossier until his death in 1910. Rossier then continued to run the bank until his retirement in 1936. Both men’s valuable contributions to the French economy were recognised when they were made chevaliers of the Légion d’honneur. In the 80s the board discussed to bring Benjamin Rossier's grand nephew Jacques Rossier into the bank but discussions never materialized and Jacques Rossier became later senior partner of the private bank Hentsch & Cie in Geneva, Switzerland.

From its early days, Banque Suisse et Française took an active interest in commerce and industry. A successful working relationship was developed with the Paris department store Galeries Lafayette. The bank also helped fund the construction of the new Métropolitain underground system and the installation of public lighting in the capital. The early success of the business led to considerable expansion. The number of employees rose tenfold by the turn of the century, and the bank moved to larger headquarters at 20, rue La Fayette. From 1912, the bank began to develop a branch network, with 14 offices opening in Paris and a first provincial office in Lille. An office was also acquired in Marseilles when the business of Banque du Colombier was taken over in 1914.

The Creation and Development of CCF[edit]

In January 1917, the bank’s shareholders approved a proposed merger with the Lyon-based Maison Aynard et Fils and Caisse de Crédit de Nice. Maison Aynard et Fils had started out as a drapers’ company in the early 18th century, before turning to banking in 1858. Established in 1865, Caisse de Crédit de Nice had opened a number of branches along the Mediterranean coast and in Italy. The resulting business adopted the name Crédit Commercial de France (CCF). Two years later, the business of the Banque de Bordeaux was also acquired.

In 1922, the bank’s central management and main services were transferred to 103, avenue des Champs-Élysées. Still the headquarters of the bank today, these former hotel premises offered a prestigious location from which CCF consolidated its standing on the French banking scene. The company continued to expand through the acquisition of other banks and, by the end of the decade, it had become the sixth largest bank in France.

In the 1960s, during the chairmanship of Jacques Merlin, CCF embarked upon a policy of considerable expansion, with the number of branches rising to more than 200. The bank’s industrial affairs department and international department were also founded during this period. In 1979, the long-running advertising campaign, The Bank of success, was launched, which boosted the number of shareholders from 17,000 to 34,000. Three years later, the bank was nationalised by the French government but this decision was later reversed and CCF was privatised once again in 1987.

CCF joins the HSBC Group[edit]

CCF was operating with 650 branches and assets of €69 billion by the end of the 20th century. In April 2000, HSBC Holdings plc announced its intention to acquire the bank and the deal was completed in July. That month, HSBC Holdings plc was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange for the first time. The acquisition enabled HSBC to establish a position in one of the main European markets, and to build a strong platform in the euro zone. CCF has continued to expand with the purchase of Banque Pelletier (2000) and Banque Hervet (2001).

CCF SA became HSBC France on 1 November 2005, rebranding its operations as HSBC along with subsidiary companies UBP, Banque de Picardie and Banque Hervet.

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

The HSBC Group, A brief history, Feb 2004