France's Credit Lyonnais has launched a $2 billion medium-term note program in the United States and is planning on an international program for the Euromarkets.
Jacques Mounier, deputy general manager and treasurer for Credit Lyonnais in the New York, said that the, Euromarket program will be for approximately the same amount as the U.S. program and would serve a similar funding purpose.
The French bank is one of numerous foreign banks to have recently set up U.S. funding programs in the hope of taking advantage of current low interest rates.
26 Programs This Year
Foreign commercial banks have a total 93 medium term programs outstanding in the U.S., according to Securities Data Corp.
That includes 26 programs launched this year for a total amount of $28 billion. Since September, Germany's Sudwestdeutsche Landesbank has launched a $3-billion program, Austria's Z-Laenderbank Bank Austria a $3-billion program, and Spain's Banco Commercio de Exterior a $500-million program.
In 1992, 32 programs totaling $33.5 billion were launched; the preceding year, it was 23 programs totaling $18 billion.
"We decided that it would be worthwhile to tap the U.S. domestic market which we have never tapped beyond short-term tenures," Mr. Mounier said about the medium-term note program. "This program is part of the medium-to-long-term funding program the bank has on a permanent basis."
Goldman, Sachs will be the lead manager for the Credit Lyonnais program, which is the first of its kind for the bank in the United States. Co-lead managers are Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers.
Medium-term note programs allow a bank to issue a variety of securities, certificates of deposit, or even accept straight deposits for maturities of as long a 30 years.
However, Credit Lyonnais has yet to begin the program.
|Testing the Waters'
Mr. Mounier said that the bank was still "testing the waters to see how the market appreciates our signature"
He did not exclude the possibility the bank might launch a benchmark bond issue of $100 million or more.
Mr. Mounier added that funding obtained from the program would be used either by Credit Lyonnais in the United States or abroad.
Headquartered in Paris, Credit Lyonnais ranked as the world's 8th-largest bank with some $350 billion of assets at yearend.
The bank has approximately $30 billion to $35 billion of assets in the United States, including assets booked through the bank's offshore offices in the Cayman Islands and Nassau.
U.S. operations include branches in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and agencies in San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta
The state-owned bank is one of 20 state-owned corporations the French government is planning to privatize over the next few years.
On Monday, French media reported that the French government planned to appoint a new chairman for Credit Lyonnais.
The reports said that Jean Peyrelevade, current chairman of the giant insurance group Union des Assurances de Paris, will replace Jean-Yves Haberer as head of Credit Lyonnais.
Mr. Haberer reportedly will take over as chairman of Credit National, another state-owned credit institute.
Credit Lyonnais officials were unavailable for comment on the reported moves.
But French media and news agency reports cited an announcement in the French government's official bulletin of the appointment of Mr. Peyrelevade to the board of Credit Lyonnais.
The move is viewed as a prerequisite for nomination as chairman.