Other deals done by the branch
Apart from the major share and bond placement deals, the branch had business relationships with companies, banks and private individuals. This was far from being an exclusively Dutch clientele; the branch also did business with subsidiaries of French and foreign companies. It was also involved in business which the parent company did with a large number of foreign banks, often as part of documentary credit arrangements or short- term overdrafts linked to documentary collections. The Amsterdam branch did however have a local business base while at the same time being part of the vast world of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, which carried out financial and industrial transactions in a large number of countries.
A significant part of the branch s business involved granting current account overdraft facilities, backed by securities pledged as collateral. Very often such facilities were granted for several months, on a renewable basis, the beneficiaries being private individuals and local commercial traders.
Among the branch clientele were diamond merchants, including the highly-reputed firm of I. J. Asscher78. It was Asscher which in 1893 was entrusted with the task of cutting the Excelsior diamond, and then in 1902 the Cullinan diamond, the largest diamond ever found, having a rough weight of 3,106 carats. The four largest stones cut from the diamond are now in the Crown Jewels collection of the United Kingdom.
Acceptance credits were a common form of finance provided by the branch to trading companies such as Handelsvereeniging Java and the Handelsvereeniging Holland. The branch also frequently granted loans to local borrowers guaranteed by French companies. These loans, which took the form of acceptance credits, were in fact short term buyer credits guaranteed by a French company. Thus, in 1929, the wool-trader Buitenlandsche Wolhandel Maatschappij was granted a documentary acceptance credit for 250,000 guilders, guaranteed by Maison Pierre Flipo79, based in Tourcoing. In the same vein, Dordrecht-based industrial manufacturer N. V. Machinenfabriek De Biesbosch was granted an overdraft facility guaranteed by the French tugboat operator Société Française de Remorquage sur le Rhin. Automobile manufacturer Citroën had a sales subsidiary in Amsterdam, N. V. Automobiles Citroën80, for whom the Amsterdam branch agreed an overdraft facility lasting many years, duly guaranteed by the parent company.
The Amsterdam branch also did business with a very large number of international banks. It was often involved in international trade deals, the Bank s role being to provide documentary acceptance credit, or overdraft facilities. Among the bank s clients were
78. I.J Asscher, founded in 1854, is today known as Royal Asscher Diamond Company.
79. Maison Pierre Flipo was a large textile company based in Tourcoing with capital of around 14 million francs at the time, and turnover of close to a billion.
80. This company was founded in 1929 with capital of 200,000 guilders divided into 200 shares of 1000 guilders, of which 196 were subscribed by the parent company André Citroën.
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