BNP Paribas is one of the main banks in Europe and France. It was created on May 23, 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Paribas. Together with Société Générale and Crédit Lyonnais now LCL, it is part of the "three old" banks of France. It is part of the CAC 40.
On August 9 2007 BNP Paribas announced that it could not fairly value the underlying assets in three funds as a result of exposure to U.S. subprime mortgage lending markets. Faced with potentially massive (though unquantifiable) exposure, the European Central Bank (ECB) immediately stepped in to ease market worries by opening lines of EUR 96.8 billion (US$130 billion) in low-interest credit.