Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC), the bank that grew too fast

1848-1966

Themes:

  • Banks & Financial Institutions
  • Innovation
Document

In around fifteen years, through sheer boldness and fighting spirit, BNC worked its way up to become the fourth largest French deposit bank.

•    Unprecedented commercial aggression

The Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC) was established on 25 June 1913 to take over the business of the Comptoir d’Escompte de Mulhouse (CEM), its parent bank, which was then in German territory. From its first years of operations, it pursued an active policy of geographical expansion, taking over forty or so local and regional banks.

The strong fighting spirit and commercial aggression which drove the staff – for example the systematic canvassing of customers and prospects – enabled BNC to prise market share away from its competitors. The bank saw a sharp rise in deposits and posted substantial business growth, leading to successive capital increases. During the First World War BNC stood apart from its competitors in not applying the government moratorium designed to avoid mass withdrawals of savings.

Despite the 1920-1921 recession, BNC pursued its aggressive policies and continued expanding the branch network. The bank steadily built up close business relations with companies in a variety of sectors and brought influential men on to the Board. Partnerships were forged with a number of leading French manufacturing groups including Renault, Fives-Lille, Peugeot and Péchiney.

Action de la BNC, 1923

Action de la BNC, 1923

 

In 1926, the bank started building its new headquarters at 16 boulevard des Italiens in Paris, in ‘art deco’ style, using ultra-modern materials such as reinforced concrete.

•    The final years

In 1927, André Vincent, a dynamic and entrepreneurial partner who was also head of the Comptoir Lyon-Allemand, became BNC Chairman. Under his aegis, BNC further expanded its commercial banking activities, setting up daring financial deals and backing brand new industries such as talking cinema and aviation.

However, the accounts of the Comptoir Lyon-Allemand and BNC had gradually become closely entwined. Consequently, when the stock markets crashed, followed by economic crisis, the overdrafts granted to Vincent Group companies weighed heavily on BNC’s credit position. Despite desperate attempts by the public authorities to prop up the bank, BNC was liquidated in 1932. The new bank, Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI), set up to take over its healthy assets, also took on the all-conquering vision originally conceived by Chairman Eugène Raval.

Close

Contact us / Send us a document

The personal data collected from the Site are subject to data processing by BNP Paribas to enable access to and use of the functionalities offered by the Site www.histoire.bnpparibas.
Pursuant to the French Data Protection Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978, you are entitled to access the data collected by BNP Paribas and to have it amended, updated or deleted, where such information is incorrect, incomplete or outdated. You can exercise this right by contacting: BNP Paribas – APAC TDC Val de Marne, TSA 30233- 94729 FONTENAY SOUS BOIS Cedex.

This website has a cultural and historical purpose; it is not intended to deal with trade and banking relationship issues which will not be processed.
If you have a document, a photo, a story about BNP Paribas history and want to share it, please do not hesitate to share it there.
In transmitting this document, you certify to own it and to hold the property rights needed for their use. You authorize BNP Paribas to use it on the website Source of History.
Thank you for indicate the origin of the documents and give us any information you consider relevant to its understanding.

Close

Suscribe to Well of History's newsletter

The personal data collected from the Site are subject to data processing by BNP Paribas to enable access to and use of the functionalities offered by the Site www.histoire.bnpparibas.
Pursuant to the French Data Protection Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978, you are entitled to access the data collected by BNP Paribas and to have it amended, updated or deleted, where such information is incorrect, incomplete or outdated. You can exercise this right by contacting: BNP Paribas – APAC TDC Val de Marne, TSA 30233- 94729 FONTENAY SOUS BOIS Cedex.

Close

Files download

I undertake to make private use of the contents downloaded from the website

OK
Close

You have added an item to your selection.

You can find your saved contents in the “My space” section, which can be accessed at the top right of any page of the website.

My space English A+ A-

To find this content on your next visit, you need to create an account from this section, by clicking on:

Fermer Welcome to

Well of History

Since 1822, history has made us a key player and a witness of transformations taking place in society and economy in Europe and around the world. We invite you to share in our story and explore our archives to learn more about our constantly changing world.
Jean Lemierre Jean Lemierre,
Chairman
of BNP Paribas