France to rescue mortgage lender CIF: paper

PARIS Sat Sep 1, 2012 12:58pm EDT

PARIS (Reuters) - France's government plans to intervene to rescue Credit Immobilier de France after the struggling mortgage lender was hit by a liquidity crisis following a recent downgrade by credit rating agency Moody's, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Saturday.

CIF's board met on Friday night and formally demanded government help, the newspaper said, without naming its sources.

The lender, which has about 300 branches throughout France, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The government was not immediately available for comment.

As a condition of a state guarantee backing the group, the government demanded the resignation of Claude Sadoun, the group's chief executive, the newspaper said.

CIF has been looking for a buyer since at least May after its future was thrown into doubt by the evaporation of once-cheap funding from credit markets, on which it depends to finance its operations.

Earlier this week business daily Les Echos reported that another government-owned bank, Banque Postale, was opposed to rescuing CIF itself.

The mortgage lender at this point is most likely to be wound down with government backing rather than being sold or revived, the paper said.

(Reporting by Christian Plumb; Editing by Mark Potter)

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