As a banking actor for two centuries, BNP Paribas is the custodian of a historical documentary heritage resulting from the activities of its forerunners. These are private archives that the Group is committed to preserving, promoting and making available to the world of scientific research, particularly in the field of economic history.
The BNP Paribas archives represent 3 linear kilometers of economic, financial and banking archives. They tell about the history, actions, commitments and policies of the Group’s forerunners up to the most recent years. It is the result of a conservation policy developed within these entities and the desire to keep track of the actions undertaken.
Of course, in all entities, the main purpose of archiving has always been to meet legal requirements. However, since the 1920s, certain entities have more specifically implemented a real conservation policy with an heritage purpose. Take a look behind the scenes of our collections.
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Presentation of BNP Paribas archives
These archives contain a variety of documents related to the main banking functions:
- Financing, accounting and fiscal affairs
- Generam management
- France operations
- Realestate (all topics)
- Human resources
- Society documents
- Support fonctions
It’s also interesting to note that French operations include commercial banking, with account management, inheritance, financing, particularly for companies, private banking, management of administrative centres and subsidiaries. As for international operations, they also include subsidiaries, private banking and commercial banking with financing, but also the administrative management related to the country concerned, an element of great historical interest.
Zoom in the banks that made BNP Paribas Historical Archives
What kinf of resources can be found in BNP Paribas historical archives?
Our historical collections are made up of various media: paper, native digital archives, historical library and objects.
Specific features of the BNP Paribas archives
Our collections are estimated at 3 linear kilometers of arranged archives, all the entities making up the BNP Paribas archives do not have the same volume or the same comprehensiveness in terms of the subjects covered. While the holdings of the BNC, the CNEP and, to a lesser extent, the BNCI are very brief, the holdings of the BNP and Compagnie Bancaire entities are substantial. Paribas’ holdings are considered major, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. It is representative of the missions, activities and countries in which the bank is involved.
The Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP)
The CNEP was created in 1848. The CNEP’s archives consist mainly of company documents such as annual reports, minutes of general meetings and board meetings. There are also personnel files and some real estate items.
The Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC)
The BNC’s archives are held at the Archives nationales du monde du travail in Roubaix, under the reference 120 AQ 1 to 1003 (1774-1968).
For more information, you can consult the inventory at the following link
The Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI)
Unlike its predecessor, the BNC, the BNCI has a particularly interesting collection of circulars, real estate and subsidiaries and establishments on the African continent.
Over time, the circulars contain the information necessary for the bank’s activities and are thus a very enriching source. The real estate section consists of files relating to the life of the branches and administrative centres during the 35 years of the bank’s existence.
Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP)
This entity has been able to benefit from the collection and centralized conservation of intermediate archives at the Saran site (France) since the 1970s. The BNP collection covers all of the bank’s activities: operations in France, international operations, research, inspection, communication, real estate, and corporate documents.
With a strong focus on France, banking operations include all the major operations of interest at the national level. Also noteworthy is the specificity of the archive relating to studies, which contains numerous economic studies.
The Compagnie Bancaire
This section includes the archives of Compagnie Bancaire as well as those of all its specialised subsidiaries such as Cetelem, UCB, Arval, etc. Although we find the usual documents of a company, this collection also contains numerous economic, financial and sociological studies. Historically, Cetelem and UCB have very efficient research departments that have produced numerous prospective studies.
Paribas’ archives are landmark for their fairly exhaustive coverage of all the bank’s business lines: human resources, communications, legal, real estate, and corporate documents including general meetings, boards of directors and other governance bodies.
The studies provide a very varied overview. They cover Paribas and, by extension, the banking sector, but also economic and financial issues such as nationalisations and privatisations, foreign exchange, currencies, employment, development aid, etc. There are also studies on all sectors of activity (agri-food, textiles, tourism, construction and public works, etc.), in France, Europe and around the world.
Four main sub-fonds are to be noted:
- the Cabet collection: The Cabet collection is a grouping of all the bank’s archives concerning a country, from the origin of the bank’s relationship with that country until the mid-1970s for the most part. Of course, it is classified by country and covers all the subjects that the bank was confronted with in its relationship, thus offering a very enlightening view of the country concerned.
- General management: this section contains the archives of the directors, general managers and presidents who have succeeded one another within Paribas, since the end of the 19th century. It includes documents relating to all matters concerning the bank as well as personal papers relating to their careers.
- international financing: They demonstrate the essential, even vital, role played by the bank in the support and development of various countries. They are generally classified by sector of activity and then companies
- and international administrative management: The “international administrative management” category covers all of the international institutional relations that Paribas may have had with the country’s economic and financial authorities. It provides a rich overview of the countries concerned.
By default, the Group’s historical archives can be disclosed after a period of 25 years. In order to protect the confidentiality of certain files (industrial secrecy, banking secrecy, personal data, etc.), this period may be extended beyond 25 years. For any request for access to the archives, please contact the Group’s Archives & History department. The archives of the BNP Paribas entity, which are very recent, cannot be disclosed.