Credit Agricole Said to Weigh Job Cuts in Investment-Banking Arm

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Credit Agricole ’s board meets today and the board of the corporate- and investment-banking division will gather tomorrow morning to discuss the unit’s reorganization, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Credit Agricole SA, France’s third-largest bank, is considering job cuts at its corporate- and investment-banking unit, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The lender may eliminate about 2,000 jobs, including 1,500 at the division, Le Figaro reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. The bank’s board was set to meet yesterday, and the board of the corporate- and investment-banking arm will gather today to discuss the unit’s reorganization, a person told Bloomberg News previously, asking not to be identified because the plan is confidential. An announcement may come today. The reductions will occur in France and abroad, the person said, without providing more details.

Anne-Sophie Gentil, a Credit Agricole spokeswoman, declined to comment on job cuts. There was no response to later calls after office hours seeking comment on figures reported by Le Figaro.

The lender, based near Paris, would join BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA in reducing corporate- and investment-banking staff. Credit Agricole is cutting fewer assets than its two larger French rivals after a dearth of U.S. short-term dollar funding hit European banks over the summer.

Moody’s Investors Service cut the credit ratings of Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale last week, citing funding constraints and deteriorating economic conditions amid Europe’s 2-year-old debt crisis. Moody’s lowered the long-term debt ratings of Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas by one level to Aa3, the fourth-highest investment grade.

Credit Agricole said on Sept. 28 it plans to reduce financing needs by as much as 52 billion euros, including between 15 billion euros and 18 billion euros at its corporate-and investment-banking unit.

“Many banks in France and elsewhere are now engaged in deleveraging efforts,” Moody’s said Dec. 9. “There is a risk that, where asset sales are required, a lack of market appetite could lead to a shortfall against the targeted reduction, or it may be possible only at depressed prices.”

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