Sarkozy to meet with bankers as crisis reaches Europe

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called a meeting with the heads of banks and insurance companies as evidence grew Monday that the US finance crisis had reached Europe, dpa reported.
In a press statement, Sarkozy's office said that Tuesday's meeting would "review the situation of the financial institutions as well as the availability of credit to households and companies."
Sarkozy said last week that the French state would come to the aid of any financial institution at risk of failing, to ensure that depositors did not lose any of their savings.
The announcement of the meeting came as French shares fell sharply, with banking shares leading the decline.
Shortly after midday on Monday, the Paris Bourse's benchmark CAC 40 was down 2.95 per cent, at 4,040.68, with slumping issues outpacing winners by 19 to 1.
The Franco-Belgian financial services group Dexia was the biggest loser, giving up more than one quarter of its value, as the Belgian government declared that it would come to its support as it had with the Fortis financial group, which was nationalized at the weekend.
Dexia's share price fell largely because of a report in the French daily Le Figaro saying that the company could launch an emergency capital increase.
Dexia has called a meeting of its board of directors for later Monday.
In addition, French bank Credit Agricole was down more than 8 per cent, to 13.24 euros (18.95 dollars), while Societe Generale was off 5.50 per cent, at 61.46 euros.

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