After the surprise announcement, on 4 May 1966, of the creation of the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) through the merger of the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI) and the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP), a press campaign prepared the merger of the two institutions.
Here is the press release that was distributed in the magazines Paris Match and Jours de France to explain the stakes of this project. The name of the new company, Banque Nationale de Paris, crowns the top of the page in black capital letters. “Provide the public a broader and more complete range of services” and “create an institution sized for the European Common Market,” are the goals set out in the public announcement. The choice of the colours blue, white and red echo the national character of the 2 merged institutions and that of the new bank.
The first large-scale merger in French banking
4 May1966. The Minister of Finance announces in a press release “the merger of the BNCI and the CNEP.” The merger occurred in a context of bank concentration initiated by Michel Debré, Minister of Finance. The objective? “Strengthen the structure of the major banks to develop their ability to act in the area of domestic and international credit.” According to Michel Debré, the scope and objectives of this merger are summarised in the choice of the name, “Banque Nationale de Paris.” The term bank is more modern than “Comptoir,” “Escompte” and “Commerce et Industrie,” too dated or too specialised. The term national marks its scope and “Paris” refers to the prestige of the capital. Pierre Ledoux and Henri Bizot, respectively the former chairman of CNEP and former managing director of BNCI, set out to create a new bank and not the sum of 2 banks. The new institution became the leading French bank, second in Europe and seventh in terms of balance sheet. It took three years for this merger to become a success.