Facade of the Blois branch of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris

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This postcard from 1900-1910 shows a sideways view of the facade of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris branch located in Blois, rue Denis Papin.

The institution opens onto a travelled thoroughfare and its entrance is embellished with elegant neo-Byzantine style columns. On its sign the words “Comptoir national d’Escompte de Paris et Société anonyme au capital de 150 000 000 de francs entièrement versés” (Comptoir national d’Escompte de Paris and limited company with capital of 150,000,000 francs fully paid-in) are sculpted in relief. This promotes an image of an established reputation and seriousness for the company. And on the black panels, the public finds a list of the transactions offered. A few steps from the branch, one finds the “Monumental Independent Stairs” or Denis Papin Stairs. Built in 1860, when rue Denis Papin was cleared, these stairs connected the upper and lower parts of the town, where the slope was too steep to build a road.

The CNEP sets up in industrial and commercial towns across France
After its liquidation in March 1889, related to the risky financing of the Société des Métaux, the Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris was reborn two months later in the form of a new limited company under its original name of Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris. Under the prudent management of Alexis Rostand, the CNEP set out to build a national network. Comptoir agencies spread in each district of major cities, in each town, near money warehouses, in major financial markets. Agen, Dijon, Dunkirk, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Perpignan, etc., the CNEP expanded its activities each time the situation was favourable. Such that by 1909 the CNEP has the 3rd largest national banking network, behind Crédit Lyonnais and Société Générale. This expansion aimed to harness the savings of French people and meet the growing credit needs of companies.

BNP Paribas Historical Archives
BNP Paribas Historical Archives
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