The Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP) was created on 8 March 1848 by decree of the provisional Government of the French Republic to kick-start the economy by restoring credit. This extract from the Bulletin des lois de la République française mentions the creation of the new institution and its bylaws.
Between 1846 and 1848, France experienced a persistent economic crisis: many banking institutions failed, prices increased continually and industrial activity slowed down. The February revolution broke out against this background and the Second Republic was declared. The economic situation was so catastrophic that cash payments replaced supplier credit and bank discounts. Moreover, the rediscount of Banque de France was blocked and it was virtually no longer possible to obtain the guarantee of a third signature affixed by the banks on bills of exchange.
To unblock the situation, the new Minister of Finance, Finances, Louis Antoine Garnier Pagès, resurrected the idea of the comptoirs nationaux d’escomptes (national discount accounts), already issued during the 1830 revolution. On 7 March 1848, a first decree of the provisional Government of the French Republic demand the creation short-term lending institutions in the main cities in France. The Comptoirs Nationaux d’Escompte de Paris and the Comptoirs Nationaux d’Escompte de Mulhouse, forerunners of BNP Paribas, were among the 69 lending institutions created in 1848.
Initially, CNEP was an novel creation, bringing together the state, the city of Paris and private interests, primarily represented by the booksellers and publishers.