- 3 min
No 1 in Armenia, ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank turns 15
ACBA's history and success exemplify the reach of this model, one of the few of its kind. A cooperative bank specialising in agricultural financing, along the lines of a Crédit Agricole Regional Bank, ACBA was formed in 1996 when Armenia was privatising its farmland. Experts from Crédit Agricole Consultants and the Regional Banks travelled to Armenia to help local managers set up the bank, and they continue to assist with its development.
ACBA has leveraged Crédit Agricole's experience and now comprises 715 local village associations, which form its core. These associations are organised into 10 regional unions, which in turn form the basis of ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank, a full-service nationwide bank that sets overall strategy and coordinates network business.
ACBA's development began with the distribution of very short-term micro-loans to farmers. The success of this initiative enabled the bank to set up a branch network throughout Armenia and at the same time to gradually become a universal bank, thanks to the support of Crédit Agricole. The transformation materialised in 2007 when Crédit Agricole took a 28 per cent stake in ACBA (15.56 per cent held by Crédit Agricole S.A. and 12.44 per cent by SACAM International, the Regional Bank holding company).
ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank has expanded strongly over the past fifteen years to become Armenia's leading universal bank, ranked number one by net income, total assets and capital. It also plays a major role in small business financing. ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank is market leader for leasing, with a share of more than 50 per cent. And, with market shares of 70 per cent for agricultural loans and 12 per cent for household lending, it is also a key financing partner for the Armenian economy, especially among farmers and small rural and urban businesses.
The customer base has increased by a factor of 25 since 2000, an average growth rate of 44 per cent over the period. ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank now has 314,000 customers. The number of branches has increased five-fold in 10 years to reach 37 in 2010. The workforce now stands at 800, compared with 100 in 2000. With an average age of less than 30, employees are trained in all areas of banking.
ACBA Crédit Agricole Bank has lines of credit with several international financial institutions, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), KfW Bankengruppe, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Crédit Agricole.