Interview / Sea sector: Crédit Agricole wants leadership in Brittany

Arnaud Gourret, Director of Crédit Agricole's Brittany Sea Sector

Arnaud Gourret, the new head of Crédit Agricole's Marine Division in Brittany, explains how the banking structure works and its ambitions in the yachting, naval and maritime economy sectors.

At the end of 2019, Crédit Agricole launched the Brittany Sea Sector. Its director, Arnaud Gourret, explains his background and the ambitions of the structure.

What approach led to the creation of the Brittany Sea Sector? And what path has led you to his head?

The aim is to legitimize our role as an economic player in the maritime sector. In 2015, the CEO of Crédit Agricole du Finistère noted that although we were the first coastal department with 1200 km of coastline, we were not sufficiently focused on the sea. This has given rise, in collaboration with our professional clients, to the Finistère Sea Sector. In view of their growing importance in the department, a Sea and Tourism Department was created on 1 January 2019. This is a growth driver for Crédit Agricole. Today, we have 5 years of retreat on the sea. The Filière Mer system also existed in an embryonic state in the other crates of Brittany. It was therefore decided to cooperate at the regional level.

On my side, I had a role in "territorial engagement" with the creation of the Village by CA, then the establishment of the SCIC Finistère Mer Vent in Port-La-Forêt for the development of the maritime economy. So I already had a link with the sea, but especially through ocean racing. This allows me to discover other fields such as boating or fishing, with a more investor than banker perspective.

Inauguration of the Finistère Mer Vent building

What are the objectives of the Sea Sector?

The objective is to become a reference partner. We have about 1000 professionals in Brittany. The goal is to take the lead. To do this, we go into contact because we believe in human proximity. We want a differentiating approach, which makes customers visible, which creates links between them for networking the Sea Sector. I have put buyers and sellers in contact with each other on occasion.

How are these policies implemented in practice at Crédit Agricole's Breton level?

The Brittany Sea Sector is a coordination with flexible governance. It is organized around 4 paving stones:

  • the communication and partnership aspect, through a single common website, local events or participation in the cluster of the Atlantic Brittany Sea Cluster. A common event for all of Brittany should be held in 2020.
  • the development of expertise and training for our consultants in the naval, biotechnology, fishing and nautical sectors, for example. They are addressed to our 40 sea references in Brittany.
  • work on the offer, such as yacht leasing or insurance, on which we would like to obtain the "Made in Brittany" label. Counter-guarantees between the caisses ensure risk sharing to respond to projects with major investments such as offshore racing or nautical centres.
  • Sharing of management tools. Shared reading grids save time in processing files.

In the boating market, what role can the Brittany Sea Sector play?

We want to increase our market share in this area. On the builders' side, we must anticipate crises and not forget the small nuggets by finding a winning model for small projects. There is the technique, but you have to know how to sell them. We have a role as influencers. They must be supported by support functions such as the Finistère Mer Vent activity and employment cooperative.

There is also a role to play in the financing of second-hand boats and in developing areas such as boat clubs, floating habitats or concierge services.

Our experience curve is progressing, but we are still very humble to anchor ourselves in the sector and co-construct as a consultant rather than a traditional banker.

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