Notwithstanding these latest developments, opportunities for new business abroad proved to be very promising. At the end of 1869 a branch was established in Geneva. Not knowing how this came about, it must be assumed that E. Hentsch, who came from Geneva, played a key role in this expansion abroad. This branch was supposed to have a high profile as well-known Genevans Arthur Chenevière, Louis Lullin, James Odier and Count Sautter de Beauregard joined the bank s executive management committee. Further expansion in Belgium took place in 1870, and early in 1871 the NCDB established two branches. In Brussels, it was able, under favourable conditions, to continue the activities of a first class banking house . Although the annual report did not reveal its name, from other sources it is known that this first class bank was Bischoffsheim & De Hirsch40. After the death of the Antwerp general manager of J.R. Bischoffsheim, the NCDB opened its second branch in Belgium. It was announced that the branches in Belgium would function as a natural bridge between Amsterdam and Paris . It might be that Joseph Cahen41 of Amsterdam, who was about to establish himself in Paris, was supposed to play a similar role. Early 1871, in the annual meeting he was appointed to the board of directors, taking over the position of Hermann Benedict Hayum Goldschmidt who apparently no longer lived in Amsterdam.

The merger in 1872

Around 1870 the NCDB started to expand on a truly international scale. With its head office in Amsterdam, the bank now had branches in Paris, Geneva, Brussels and Antwerp. However, most of the business was conducted in Paris. Henri Bamberger, the managing director of the Paris branch, was de facto the leading man. Most of the business was conducted by him, and in reality he supervised the branches.

As a result of the outcome of the Franco-German war, a change in the strategy of the bank was announced in September 1871. Negotiations had started between Banque de Paris and the NCDB, with the purpose of merging both banks into a new joint stock bank. For the NCDB it was more logical, as the essential of its activities had already been moved to Paris for quite some time. Moreover, the Dutch authorities obliged the NCDB to place the remaining shares of its authorised share capital in the market. To circumvent a complicated juridical situation the solution would be to transfer the registered office to Paris and bring the bank under French jurisdiction.

At the same time the Banque de Paris, created in 1869, was engaged in a reorientation process. The Paris banking world was confronted by all sorts of actions, instigated by the

40. Offspring to Bischoffsheim, Cassel & de Hirsch. G. Kurgan-Van Hentenrijk, Dictionnaire des patrons, pp. 55 and 173.

41. The Amsterdam banker Joseph Cahen (1810-1880), should not be confused with Meyer Joseph Cahen (d Anvers) who was his brother. This confusion can be explained, as Joseph Cahen would also establish himself as a banker in Paris, although this was around the year 1870. In 1863, Joseph Cahen was involved with the foundation of the Algemeene Maatschappij, the rival of the NCDB. Nicolas Stoskopf, Les patrons du Second Empire, pp. 109-111 and Klaus H.S. Schulte, Bonner Juden und ihre Nachkommen bis um 1930, (Bonn, 1976), pp. 139-141 and P.A. Geljon, Bischoffsheim, Cahen en het ontstaan van Paribas (Kwartaalschrift Economie, jaargang 7, September 2010) pp 401-406.

54 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E N E T H E R L A N D S