is one of the oldest and most significant French banks, established in 1863 by Henri Germain. By 1900, Crédit Lyonnais turned into the largest bank worldwide. In 1945 Crédit Lyonnais was nationalized along with the majority of the banking industry in France
In the 1980s, Crédit Lyonnais became the major lender to studios, based mostly in Hollywood, and in 1990, the body financed the acquisition of MGM by Ginacarlo Parretti. The latter was fired in 1991 after raiding MGM of most assets. At this point, Crédit Lyonnais ended as the owner of the top Hollywood studio, stirring media frenzy in France and abroad. At the end, the bank’s Hollywood deals amounted to a loss of 5 billion in US dollars.
Despite being the biggest French Bank in the early 1990s, Crédit Lyonnais saw a steady decline due to the accumulation of a huge debt over the Hollywood affair. A series of other financial scandals involved the management exaggerating investments and problems with subsidiaries. These events almost lead to bankruptcy in 1993. In order to avoid insolvency, the State moved Crédit Lyonnais’ debts to a new company, owned by the state: Consortium de Réalisation (CDR) and prompted the European Commission to impose multiple restrictions on Crédit Lyonnais’ activities, especially its international ones. In May 1996 one of the most severe fires in the history of the French capital destroyed much of Crédit Lyonnais' Paris historic headquarters (in the 2nd arrondissement).
Crédit Lyonnais was privatized in full in 1999 and in 2003, the body was acquired by another French institution - Crédit Agricole
. Today, the financial institution is known as LCL: renamed to avoid references to the Crédit Lyonnais scandals. In 2004, Crédit Agricole merged LCL investment banking with Crédit Agricole Indosuez
under the name Calyon
. The LCL retail banking network was preserved. Despite being owned by Crédit Agricole, both structures compete in retail banking with Crédit Lyonnais which operates as a separate entity.
Through a nationwide network of branches, today LLC offers financial products and services to private citizens and small businesses. Services include mortgages, student, consumer, business and other loans; consumer credit in the form of credit cards, investment and retirement plans, saving and bank accounts, insurance, online and phone banking.
LCL is based in Paris, France: 19 Boulevard Des Italiens, Paris F-75002. The structure has over 10,000 employees working at its offices in Paris and Lyon, France and Toronto, Canada. In 2005, LCL had about 6 million customers in 2000 branches in France.
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