The Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI) was the first bank to sponsor the Tour de France. In the middle of the 1950s, a problem arose on the Tour: the Caravan arrives after the bank offices close and leaves before they open. To overcome this break in service, the BNCI embarked on the routes of the sporting event.
This photo shows the two mobile banking vans that accompany the Tour caravan. Each vehicle is personalised with the logo (the caduceus) and the name of the bank written in black capital letters. And the BNCI is qualified as the “Tour Bank” on a banner mounted above the vans’ window.
The BNCI in the service of the “followers” of the Tour de France
In order to simplify the daily routine of the Tour de France followers – officials, journalists, advertisers, technical directors and racers – the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI) has established a mobile bank branch system that enables it to provide banking services in each stage town. The principle? Before each stage arrival, the bank employees collect funds from the local office of the BNCI and man their bank counter from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Cashing, payments, currency sales and foreign currency exchanges are some of the many operations they perform for the Tour de France village.
This innovative partnership was an opportunity for the BNCI to associate its image with that of a powerful social event and to make itself known with the general public. As such, from 1955 to 1967, the bank was involved with each edition of the Tour de France. And, after a 5 year hiatus, the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) resumed, from 1973 to 1987, its place as the “Tour Bank.”
If the BNP Paribas Group has been associated with Tennis since 1973, its past as a sports sponsor goes farther back.