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August 26, 1999 witnessed the birth of France's premier bank, a new European leader in financial services. The creation of the BNP Paribas Group, led by Michel Pébereau, then Chairman and CEO of BNP, was at that time the largest bank merger ever implemented in France.
From 77,000 employees at the time of the merger, the Group has progressively increased its workforce to 205,000, partly thanks to the acquisition in 2006 of BNL bc, the sixth largest Italian bank, and, more recently, in May 2009, of 75% of Fortis Bank in Belgium and 66% of BGL in Luxembourg.
Today, BNP Paribas has more than 13 million customers in its four domestic markets, which are Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg, as well as 5 million more customers in the Group's other retail markets: the Mediterranean basin, Eastern Europe and the USA.
In 1999, the Group had 2,500 branches. Since then, the number has increased to 7,000 throughout the world.
As the number one bank in the euro zone in terms of deposits, BNP Paribas has demonstrated the effectiveness of its diversified customer-driven business model. From the outset, this model has been firmly grounded in the Group's strength as a retail bank as well as in the quality of its investment banking and asset management operations.
The BNP Paribas brand is one of the Group's major assets. It is the world's 8th most valuable banking brand according to Brand Finance's 2009 rankings, with an estimated value of USD 9.4 billion.
This ranking is largely due to the Group's financial strength. With an AA rating, BNP Paribas is one of the six strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor's.
BNP Paribas: Chronology
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