The video series “Press archives tell our story” is the result of collaboration between the Archives & History department of BNP Paribas and Retronews-BNF, the team at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France dedicated to promoting a collection of press titles published between 1636 and 1950. Five episodes based on archive images highlight the key moments in the history of BNP Paribas’ forerunners. Origins of the Group, internationalisation of its activities, financing of the economy… (Re)discover our history through the eyes of the press.
Press archives tell our story: The birth of an innovative bank, the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie
After the liquidation of the Banque Nationale de Crédit in January 1932, the public authorities decided to reconstitute the institution in a new form. This is how the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie came into being on 12 January 1932. Inheriting its predecessor’s spirit of commercial conquest, its staff and its resources, it experienced constant growth in France and beyond, making it one of the four major French banks on the eve of the creation of the BNP.
Press archives tell our story: The Banque Nationale de crédit buys out its parent company, the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Mulhouse
In 1913, the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Mulhouse had created an autonomous subsidiary on French territory, the Banque Nationale de Crédit, in order to cope with the Franco-German tensions and to keep the confidence of French savers. However, the young subsidiary grew rapidly and between mergers and the opening of new regional branches, it became one of the main French banks. This situation led to the absorption of the parent company by its subsidiary in 1930.
Press archives tell our story: The creation of the Banque Nationale de crédit
From 1911 onwards, the diplomatic situation of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Mulhouse became delicate. Caught between France and the German Empire of Wilhelm II, it became increasingly difficult for the bank to continue to attract French savers and it feared a massive withdrawal of deposits in the event of a crisis. In response to these uncertainties, the CNEM decided in 1913 to create an independent and completely French subsidiary, the Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC). The BNC thus embarked on an energetic strategy to win over customers, making it one of the leading French banks.
Press archives tell our story: The creation of the Banque Française pour le commerce et l’industrie
In 1901, Maurice Rouvier created a business bank to serve companies: the Banque Française pour le Commerce et l’Industrie. Financing numerous businesses in France and abroad, it experienced continuous international growth until the Great War. The “Banque à Rouvier”, as it was called at the time, had to find a partner with a solid deposit collection network to support its activity. It therefore formed an alliance with the Banque Nationale de Crédit, the forerunner of the BNP.
Press archives tell our story / The Franco-Egyptian Bank and the Eiffel Tour
In 1888, the cost of building the Eiffel Tower was estimated at 6.5 million francs, with public authorities only being able to cover 1.5 million francs of this cost. Eiffel therefore approached banks to raise the additional 5 million francs. Faced with the initial reluctance of Société Générale to get involved in the project, Gustave Eiffel ultimately found a receptive partner in the person of Ernest May, director of the Banque Franco-Egyptienne, a forerunner of BNP Paribas. (Re)discover the key moments of this emblematic architectural project in Paris through the prism of the French press archives.
Press archives tell our story / 1889: the liquidation and rebirth of Comptoir d’escompte
In 1889, panic reigned at the Comptoir d’escompte de Paris, which had been weakened by the risky operations initiated by its director on the copper markets. Although liquidated, the bank on rue Bergère (Paris) was reconstituted in the aftermath because of its key role in the financing of international trade.
Press archives tell our story / 1872, the creation of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas
1870, France loses the war it is waging against Prussia at Sedan. A series of political upheavals followed – the fall of the Empire, the Paris Commune – to which was added the heavy war indemnity that the State had to pay to the victor in 1871. Several banking institutions lent their support to the financing of the National Loan intended to repay the debt. Among these, we find the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (future Paribas) created in 1872.
Press archives tell our story / 1863, the creation of the Banque de Crédit et de dépôt des Pays-Bas
In 1863, the Netherlands Credit and Deposit Bank was founded in Amsterdam, a strategic financial centre at the time. Trading, investments in bonds, shares and corporate bonds of successful companies, financing of public enterprises, public works and national industry were all activities that the bank successfully combined. In the wake of the banking concentration movement that began in the 19th century, it merged with a French bank in 1872, the Banque de Paris.
Press archives tell our story / 1860, the signing of the trade treaty and the new missions of the Comptoir
The origins of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris’ (CNEP) strategy of international expansion go back to the signing of the Franco-British free trade agreement in 1860. As a pioneer, the CNEP opened a branch in Shanghai and then Calcutta and gradually established itself as a partner for French companies on the world markets.
Press archives tell our story / 1848, a banking revolution
“1848, a banking revolution”, the first chapter of this series, retraces the circumstances of the birth of the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP), a forerunner of the Group From the agricultural and economic crisis that had been raging in France since 1846 to the breakdown of the credit system, the video traces the events that led the Provisional Government to decide to establish local credit institutions in the country’s main industrial and commercial towns.