Monday, June 27, 2011

Credit Lyonnais in Orléans

Founded in 1863 by Henri Germain, Le Crédit Lyonnais was once the largest bank in the world, but it almost went bankrupt in 1993. Over the years, the bank has suffered many scandals and hardships, but on a positive note, it's known for sponsoring the Tour de France...

LCL was a major Hollywood lender in the 80s and financed Italian Giancarlo Parretti's takeover of MGM. However, in 1999 he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years in prison and a 1 million-franc fine by a Paris court. The bank lost $5 billion on Hollywood deals.

In 1996 a major fire destroyed much of  the bank's Paris headquarters. It was one of the worst Paris building fires in 25 years, burning for more than 12 hours. It destroyed two-thirds of the building, and took out crucial bank archives and computer data.

The bank circumvented financial disaster by transferring debts and liabilities into Consortium de Réalisation (CDR), a new state-owned company. CDR's establishment was highly controversial, with many people protesting the French government bailing out the bank. In 2005 the CDR had to repay €135 million to the creditors of billionaire Bernard Tapie, after a scandal involving the sale of Adidas.

That same year, Le Crédit Lyonnais was renamed LCL to avoid references to its recent troubles.

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