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CIF received emergency funds before rescue-sources

PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) - French mortgage bank Credit Immobilier de France (CIF) was benefiting from emergency Bank of France funding to keep it afloat months before a high-profile government rescue, banking sources told Reuters.

"When CIF ran into problems earlier this year it was forced to use the (central-bank) system," one source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

"The exact number is unclear but it was more than 2 billion euros ($2.58 billion)."

A second banking source, also with direct knowledge of the matter, confirmed the lending had taken place but did not give a figure for the amount of credit it received.

The Bank of France said it never comments on details of liquidity assistance. CIF declined to comment.

French President Francois Hollande agreed last month to guarantee the bank's debt after rating downgrades starved it of funding and management failed to find a buyer for its operations.

($1 = 0.7751 euros)

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Mark John)

((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +33 (0)1 49 49 56 85; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: FRANCE CIF/