Over the years the Amsterdam branch continued its activities. In the 1950s, the bank developed itself into a small general bank with several retail offices outside Amsterdam. Meanwhile, the network operated as a separate limited company under the name Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas Nederland N.V.45 In 1998 a large part of the bank was sold to a Belgian group, which is today known as Dexia. Under the name, Banque Artesia Nederland, these activities still operated from its old office on the Herengracht in Amsterdam, where it all began in 1863. In 2006 Dexia sold their interest to GE Capital.
This chapter describes the pre-history of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, in particular the creation and the development of its Dutch founding institution, the Nederlandsche Credit- en Deposito Bank or alternatively Banque de crédit et de dépôt des Pays-Bas.
This bank was the initiative of Dr. Samuel Sarphati of Amsterdam, and it would represent the unique cooperation between Dutch and French bankers. Distinguished bankers helped Sarphati to realize his objective to stimulate industrial development in the Netherlands. Sarphati was not deterred by the fact that the bank was predominately owned by French interests. What was important for him was the fact that management was exercised by his compatriots. Nonetheless, over the years management would slip into the hands of his Parisian backers. This was due to the modest economic growth in the Netherlands, the premature death of Sarphati and the more sophisticated banking know-how in Paris. Of course, an exception should be made for the very astute Dutch banker A.C. Wertheim, who was so much involved in the bank. The talents of Henri Bamberger, the general manager of the Paris branch of the NCDB, were also a determining factor. He had the capacity to compensate the lack of growth in the Netherlands with new business in France and abroad.
The objectives of Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim and his partners appear to be more complex and did not necessarily coincide with those of Sarphati. In all likelihood, Louis- Raphaël Bischoffsheim like the Rothschilds wanted to create his own banking dynasty. The Rothschilds, based on the confederation between the five brothers, succeeded into accomplishing this. Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim s handicap was that he had to work with related partners who each had their own agenda. This made the continuation of the Bischoffsheim s firms vulnerable. The joint stock bank must have been for him an attractive alternative. Considerations of international banking strategy were in play as well. The fierce rivalry with Pereire s Crédit mobilier led to Bischoffsheim s alliance with Edouard Hentsch and Alphonse Pinard. Maybe, unconsciously, at the end of his life, Louis- Raphaël Bischoffsheim saw the foundation of the Nederlandsche Credit- en Deposito Bank as a first step towards his ultimate ambition, a strong and viable international bank.
45. The bank changed its name to Banque Paribas Nederland N.V. in 1984.
56 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