The early years (1872-1914)

In the Netherlands, the 1872-1914 period was marked by economic growth in which the banking sector played an important role. Between 1894 and 1913, 139 merchant banks were established47. However, given the short supply of marketable local stocks and bonds, the capital market turned to foreign securities. In fact shares in Dutch industrial companies were not listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange until 1889, which helps to explain the high level of activity in foreign shares and bonds listed in the Netherlands. At the same time, foreign investment in the country increased, reaching 3 billion guilders by 1913.

The Amsterdam branch of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas occupied a modest but nevertheless significant position in the Dutch market. Having inherited the business of the Nederlandsche Credit- en Deposito Bank, the branch became part of the financial community largely due to the high-profile bankers who made up its Advisory Council.

The bank was a member of the Vereeniging voor den Effectenhandel48 (Association for the Securities Trade), better known by the abbreviation VvdE. Up until the Second World War, it was the only French bank branch in the Netherlands49.

The very early years were marked by significant losses on investments in the Lake Erie and Louisville Railroad Company. Moreover, during this period, and several times over, the

47. Johan de Vries, in Handbook on the History of European Banks, European Association for Banking History, Edward Elgar, 1994, pp 736

48. The VvdE was set up pursuant to a resolution of 28 September 1870. This was not an association of companies or legal entities; membership was on a personal basis. Maurits Cornelis van Hall, then one of the general managers of the Nederlandsche Credit- en Deposito Bank, was one of the signatories to the resolution and thus one of the founder members. In 1877, then head of the Amsterdam branch of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, he was a member of the VvdE management committee and also a member of the disputes committee.

49. Note on the history of Paribas Nederland written in 1992 by Mr Visbeek, former head of the documentary department at the Bank in Amsterdam.



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