“Le Centre d’Information Bancaire BNP” in Paris: a showcase for the bank’s innovation in the 1970’s


Storefront of "The Centre d'information bancaire BNP" in Paris, 1972 - BNP Paribas Historical archives

Le Centre d’Information Bancaire BNP (BNP Banking Information Centre) opened its doors on 11 May 1970 at 49 avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. This modern space, a place to converse with the public, was the occasion to provide information about banking products. For BNP, it was also the symbol of avant-garde.


An event on the Champs-Elysées

The news was conveyed by radio advertisements and messages: on 11 May 1970, the Centre d’Information Bancaire BNP (BNP Banking Information Centre) opened its doors on the most beautiful avenue in the world. After the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris (CNEP) and the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI) merged in 1966 to form BNP, the group found itself with two addresses on the Champs-Elysées. At number 49, it was decided to create an entirely new space dedicated to meeting the public and informing it about the banking products. There were crowds right from the inauguration. At the entrance, a robot, Le Marcheur BNP (BNP walker), created by Jacques Monestier, caused a sensation. The banking information centre was a modern, pleasantly decorated space. Cultural exhibits and events, like the contest for the most beautiful Paris bouquet or an exhibition on lithography, followed one another but the core of the subject was always the banking world. Visitors could, if they wished, be advised by the team of BNP employees, trained to answer questions about savings, property investments or portfolio management.


FRAHBNPP_PER2_1970_03_002 _Champs Elysees

Robot, “Le Marcheur BNP” (“BNP Walker”), displayed at the entry of “Le Centre d’Information Bancaire BNP” (BNP Banking Information Centre) in 1970 – BNP Paribas Historical Archives


Meeting with banking innovation

Five months after the opening, on 19 October 1970, a Honeywell-Bull terminal was made available to the public. This computer could be used to obtain an answer to a question about property financing within a few seconds. Groups of young married couples flocked to participate!


FRAHBNPP_PER2_1971_01_008 - ordinateur cetntre info

Monitor of the Honeywell-Bull terminal at “Le Centre d’information bancaire BNP” (“BNP Banking Information Centre”) in 1971 – BNP Paribas Historical Archives


On 15 May 1971, a new terminal was installed at the Centre: in nine seconds it studied the home savings plan most suited to the visitor. The terminal was a success, so much so that BNP decided to equip its largest regional centres with a Honeywell-Bull terminal.
BNP was a trail-blazer in 1970 and BNP Paribas has continued to advance along this route: in 2010 it inaugurated the Concept Store at 2 Place de l’Opéra in Paris. This agency, a showcase for the Group’s innovation, lets visitors test new technologies. A symbol of continuity with the Centre d’Information BNP (BNP Banking Information Centre), le Marcheur BNP (BNP Walker) is on display at the agency.

automate Le Marcheur BNP Paribas 1971

Robot “Le Marcheur BNP” (“BNP Walker”) in 1971 – BNP Paribas Historical Archives

automate Le Marcheur BNP Paribas 2013

Robot “Le Marcheur BNP” (“BNP Walker”) displayed at the “Concept Store”, located 2 Place de l’Opéra in Paris, 2013 – BNP Paribas Historical Archives



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