Crédit du Nord is mainly owned by Société Générale but runs separately from Société Générale’s own French retail banking network. Crédit du Nord specializes in professionals and small businesses. It serves about 1.5 million customers in more than 700 stores (2006).
Crédit du Nord started in Lille in 1848. After buying a number of small banks, it was, in turn, acquired by Paribas between 1972 (35% owned) and 1988 (100% owned) but remained run as a separate network. In the following years, several regional French banks were brought into the group while retaining their names.
In 1984, it was the fifth-ranking French banking group. It rebranded itself, after working with Creative Business (a public relations company), with a new logo, graphics of its name, the architecture of its branches, and public relations. It changed its logo from an orange cube to a blue star.
In 1997, the whole network Crédit du Nord and the associated banks was acquired by Société Générale from Paribas. Since 2000, Crédit du Nord is 80% owned by Société Générale and 20% by Dexia.
In 2010, the French government’s Autorité de la concurrence (the department in charge of regulating competition) fined eleven banks, including Crédit du Nord, the sum of 384,900,000 Euros for colluding to charge unjustified fees on check processing, especially for extra fees charged during the transition from paper check transfer to “Exchanges Check-Image” electronic transfer.