In May 2021, BNP Paribas obtained a local banking license, allowing it to expand its activities in the country and strengthen its involvement in the country’s economic development. Indeed, this license underlines a long term commitment of the bank that goes back to the end of the 19th century. Let’s discover the key dates, documented by a very large collection of archives kept by the Group and recently inventoried.
National Bank of Mexico (Banco Nacional de Mexico – Banamex) created from the merger of Banco Nacional Mexicano and Banco Mercantil Mexicano. Paribas was one of its main shareholders, led by Edouard Noetzlin, a Swiss banker who subsequently served as a director and then Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas. Paribas remained shareholder until 1982, when the Mexican banking system was nationalised,
Banamex became the country’s most powerful bank, acting jointly as a State and commercial bank. The financial institution helped to fund the country’s largest private sector investment projects (mining, railways, manufacturing, trade and haciendas).
Paribas issues its first loan, a consolidated domestic loan at 3%. In total, the bank took part in issuing around twenty loans.
In the wake of 50 years of war, the presidency of Porfirio Diaz (1876-1911) has inherited a financially depleted country. To compensate the lack of Mexican capital, it promoted foreign investment.
Mexico’s modernisation was first achieved by the “railway revolution” and the building of electric power, which shaped the growth of trade and stimulated the economy and unification of the country. BNP Paribas’ forerunners were actively involved in this modernisation movement.
1895 – Fortis – Belgian Railway Company in Mexico: exploitation of a 625 km railway line between Venadito, Monterrey and the port of Tampico. Business was later sold to Mexican International.
1910 – Bond issue for United Railway of Yucatan & acquisition of a stake in the Guadalajara light rail Company
1908 – Acquisition of a 25-30% stake and 4% bond issue in Mexican Central Railway syndicate.
1891 – Vera Cruz Railroad to Acapulco
Already operating in the West Indies since 1941, BNCI implemented a policy of opening up to Latin America in the early 1950s (Uruguay in 1948, Panama in 1950, Colombia in 1952). It established operations in Mexico City in July 1949 by acquiring a stake in a small family-run bank, Banco del Atlantico, a custodian bank founded in 1923, and Sociedad Financiera de Exportaciones e Importaciones, whose activities were similar to those of an investment bank.
The Bank’s purpose was to develop commercial operations with the United States, and with European countries.
Its registered office is located in a building that was already home to the Alliance Française and the French Chamber of Commerce. Part of the client base was made up of the French colony, formed by emigrants from Barcelonnette and the Basque Country who arrived at the turn of the twentieth century.
In the late 1960s, the bank merged with Banco del Valle de Mexico.
BNP opens a representative office in Mexico in September. The decision to establish a representative office was made in late 1965, when BNCI decided to reduce its holdings and management staff in Banco del Atlantico and Finexim.
A direct branch was kept in the country :
- to continue to serve resident and visiting clients: these transactions are entrusted to the Banco del Atlantico, with which the office works closely;
- and creating a commercial platform to promote sales of French equipment goods in the country, through Intercomi, a BNP-affiliated company responsible for developing investment and financing operations for export operations.
Projects financed directly in the late 1960s and 1970s :
- Monclova fertilizer plant
- Montrose Mexicana chlorine/caustic soda plant
- Modernisation of the Chihuahua railroad in the Pacific via the “elastic track” technique
- El Infiernillo hydroelectric dam
- Multiple petrochemical projects completed by Petroleos Mexicanos
- Modernisation of Telefonos de Mexico’s equipment
Opening of Paribas representative office, headed by Michel Sperry (former sales rep. to Mexico City), then by Nicolas Constantinesco with Dominique Remy .
France is the 3rd Mexico’s foreign supplier and the 4th largest customer
Paribas and BNP are the leaders in the French consortium for the construction of the Mexico City subway. The technology, equipment and financing are French. This project will be the major infrastructure project completed in Mexico. In 1982-2000, the same consortium will participate in financing the extension of the metro system (in a second phase, to quadruple its length by 2000).
Mexico City Olympic Games & BNP advertising presence – poster campaign and souvenir book for internal clients : to leave its mark on an international event and to strengthen commercial relations with Mexico.
The group BNP heads up 6 legally independent institutions, but with overlapping share capital and whose activity is – as required by the Mexican banking law – highly specialised. It represents 50 offices (bank branches, agricultural branches, mortgage branches, financial representation offices), including 38 bank branches, 27 in Mexico and 11 in the country; 1,600 employees, including 1,050 in Banco del Atlantico S.A et Banco de Yucatan S.A.
Atlantico Group the 5th largest financial group in the country
On the 15th of October, BNP opens BNP Mexico SA, a fully-fledged subsidiary, within the framework of the NAFTA agreement. The country is now integrated in the North American orbit. The subsidiary develops its wholesale banking business, offering services to large national and multi-national commercial and industrial clients, as well as to Mexican private banking clients. Offers products and financing solutions denominated in Mexican pesos.
Paribas, also, sets up operations in Mexico. In 1996, 14 people worked on-site.
Personal Finance established in Mexico
In June, establishment of BNP Paribas Cardif in Mexico. Distribution of individual protection, CPI and B2B warranty extensions.
In February, Mexico becomes the Latin American hub for BNP Paribas Investment Partners with the opening of its asset management subsidiary.
4 business lines :
Corporate & Institutional Banking (BNP Paribas Corporate & Institutional Banking)
Insurance (BNP Paribas Cardif)
Asset Management (BNP Paribas Investment Partners)
Consumer Credit (BNP Paribas Personal Finance)