BNP Paribas finalised the acquisition of BGŻ bank on 23 September 2014, but the group’s ties with Poland are far older, as both Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas and Société Générale de Belgique (BNP Paribas Fortis) financed the Polish economy long before. Let’s look at this lengthy history and at BGŻ, a leading financier in agriculture.
Supporting Polish economic development between the wars
Although the Treaty of Versailles asserted the independence of recently recreated Poland when it was signed on 28 June 1919, the country had emerged from the Great War severely weakened and struggled to ensure its unity. Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas contributed to the nation’s economic development in the inter-war years through Banque Franco-Polonaise, which was established in 1920, as did Generale Bank. Société Générale de Banque en Pologne (SGBP) was established in 1919 with the same attributes as its parent company in Belgium to finance the economy.
Polish banks experienced a major crisis in 1925 and sorely lacked capital. The SGBP and Banque Franco-Polonaise helped to stabilise the Polish currency in April 1927 by taking out a USD 70 million loan issued by the government. Support from Société Générale de Banque and Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas was encouraged by their respective governments for diplomatic and strategic reasons, which was also expressed in overtures to develop industrial and business relations with the new sovereign nations emerging from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire. This stimulated key sectors such as transportation, mining, oil, metals and chemistry.
To go further, flip through the book :
BGŻ BNP Paribas: 100 years of banking in Poland, Geoffroy de Lassus et Miraslaw Kluzek, BGŻ BNP Paribas 2016, Warsaw, Paris