In 1891 the main office of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP) in Bordeaux was established in the historical city centre at 10 allée de Tourny. This postcard, dating from the period 1900-1920, shows the front window with the traditional aesthetics typical of 19th century shops. Open onto a travelled thoroughfare, the branch’s facade is embellished with a black and gold sign stating the company name, its corporate name and its capital. One can read on it “société anonyme au capital de 200 millions de francs entièrement versés” (limited company with capital of 200 million francs fully paid-in). This promotes an image of an established reputation and seriousness for the company. On the black panels, the public finds a list of the transactions offered. Office employees can also be seen in front of the outside windows, where they offer a warm welcome and can prevent potential attacks.
The CNEP sets up in industrial and commercial towns across France
After its liquidation in March 1889, 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 in May 1896 it had 16 district offices in Paris and 53 agencies in France. This expansion aimed to harness the savings of French people and meet the growing credit needs of companies. The banks targeted the shopping streets, boulevards, newly constructed intersections and the prestigious locations in major cities, the transportation hubs.