On this photo from 1952, the employees of the central “portfolio” service are aligned on both sides of a conveyor belt that commercial papers (instruments discounted by the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie-BNCI that it will process based on maturity dates) travel on. Under the eye of the supervisor, the operators enter the data on the American brand Burroughs typewriters. The central “portfolio” service team is housed in the annex of the BNCI head office, located since 1951 in a huge building on rue Sofia, formerly rue de la Nation.
A major innovation in the banking world: administrative operations separated from commercial services
At the instigation of its managing director, Alfred Pose, the BNCI started in 1932 to completely revise its structures. The accounting/management tasks, formerly dispersed in each branch, were grouped into “administrative centres” equipped with highly efficient modern electric calculators. Purely commercial activities were separated from administrative tasks (management of securities, coupons, commercial paper, etc.) so branch personnel could focus on customer service and business development. It was in this context that the BNCI acquired in 1951 the huge building on rue Sofia, recently built by the Dufayel department store chain. It progressively brought together these central services (secretarial staff, receipts, archive warehouse, Paris regional coupon centre and central coupon service) A genuine administration plant, the administrative centre was equipped with Bull calculators. The staff at the annex would reach up to 6000 people.