Branch organisation

Branch management

During this period, the branch had three managers: J. G. Siegers (from 1908 to 1921), Willem La Gro (from 1921 to 1935) and Dirk AnneĆ¼s Harmens (from 1935 to 1938). It is interesting to note that La Gro had also been manager and president of various subsidiaries of NHM.

Branch autonomy

The reality was that the operations of the Amsterdam branch were closely supervised by Paris and almost all transactions required headquarters approval. It is rather surprising to see that the Board of Directors of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas even ruled on transactions for small amounts and on deals backed by solid guarantees.

In June 1916, branch manager J. G. Siegers officially requested headquarters to empower the branch to make its own decisions when it was asked to take part in syndicates for placing securities. The argument he put forward was that these opportunities called for a rapid response. The Board acquiesced, stipulating however that the prior approval of he Advisory Council should be obtained for any such operation and also setting a limit of 100,000 guilders per transaction.

Extending the premises

In March 1927, the bank purchased a building at Herengracht 541, adjacent to the one it already occupied, for a price of around 200,000 guilders. This acquisition, suggested by Horace Finaly and agreed by the Board of Directors, was warranted by the steady growth of the Amsterdam branch.

The house at Reguliersdwarsstraat 98, backing on to Herengracht 541, was purchased by the bank in 1938 for 7,000 guilders.

Growth in the capital allocation

The branch capital was raised by 3 million guilders in 1927 to enable it to expand the business. The level of capital was again reviewed in 1936 and in 1937. At that time it was made up of fixed capital of 1 million guilders, a special allocation of 200,000 guilders, plus additional capital in dollars to the equivalent of 1.5 million guilders. In 1937, the fixed capital was raised to 1.75 million guilders, and at the end of the year the branch was allocated an additional envelope of 25 million French francs (1.5 million guilders).

76 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