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Ah ha, it's amazing what you can find when you look around a little. My own bank, Credit Agricole in France, took the oppurtunity last week to make a pre-emptive strike against doubts about their integrity....

From the Email I received last week from the Director himself..

"Le Crédit Agricole du Languedoc est une banque coopérative et mutualiste, autonome et financièrement indépendante. Son activité est constituée essentiellement de la collecte de dépôts de ses clients et du financement des ménages, des professionnels, des agriculteurs et des entreprises locales. Elle n’a réalisé aucun investissement sur l’immobilier américain, ni en rapport avec des banques américaines."

Translation: "Credit Agricole du Languedoc is a financially independent, Autonomous part of a banking cooperative. Our primary activity consists of Customer deposits and the financing of Households, Professionals, Farmers and local businesses. It has never had any investments in US Subprime mortgages directly or in partnership with American Banks."

Now comes the curtain..

Source: http://www.credit-agricole-sa.fr/IMG/pdf/Q1-08_results_eng_final_.pdf

From their own Financial report of this year. (Click image to enhance)

This, I imagine, included Lehman Brothers to which CA had an exposure of 383,995 Euros in Toxic Credit Default swaps which were auctioned off recently ar approx 10% value.

Source:: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52098fa2-82e3-11dd-907e-000077b07658.html

Have a look who else is on the List

Counterparty risk *
 Q2 2008 (€ m)2007 (€ m)
Société Générale 473,329487,959
Credit Agricole 383,995364,178
BNP Paribas NA 597,578
Natixis NA 202,928
Barclays 460,423352,133
Deutsche Bank 1,138,0901,193,131
Credit Suisse277,362331,807
UBS 652,972757,271
* European banks - outstanding trading positions with Lehman
Source: JPMorgan estimates, Company data

I promptly sent the Bank an email requesting an explanation of this seemingly contradictory position on 11th October.

Update 26 Oct:
Another French Bank, Caisse d'Epargne,  admitted it lost 466 Million Euros in a "Derivatives Trading incident" last week.  Rumors of a big derivatives loss forced Societe Generale and Dexia to issue denials earlier. The French finance misister, Christine Lagarde has since announced that a special audit will now be undertaken to look at the books of all French Banks. I guess Credit Agricole will have some explaining to do.

I am still waiting on a response to my email.

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