Bank of France


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Bank of France

 

(Banque de France), the central bank of issue of France.

The Bank of France was founded in 1800 by Napoleon Bonaparte as a private shareholders’ society. In 1803 it received the monopoly right to issue bank notes in Paris, and after 1848, following the absorption of nine provincial banks of issue, for the whole country. The Bank of France was always a reactionary stronghold. Its resources were used to suppress the Revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune; it collaborated with the German fascists during the occupation in World War II. Until 1936, the bank was ruled by the Conseil de Régence (15 governors representing the 200 most important shareholders); later the bank was directed by the Conseil General (20 councillors, 18 of whom were appointed by the government). In December 1945, the Bank of France was nationalized. The shareholders received substantial compensation, but control of the bank remained in the hands of the financial oligarchy.

The Bank of France grants loans to the government and is a bankers’ bank. It takes short-term and medium-term bills of exchange from commercial banks and gives them short-term credit, and it gives credit directly to industrial and commercial enterprises. The Bank of France and the governmental Conseil National de Credit regulate the volume of credit.

In 1968 the Bank of France had 258 branches in the country and maintained correspondent ties with the central banks of issue in most of the countries of the world. At the beginning of 1969 the shareholders’ capital of the bank was 250 million francs, and the bank’s balance was 91.2 billion francs. The bank issued 72.2 billion francs. Deposits totaled 12.1 billion francs (including 7.1 billion francs deposited by French banks); advances and loans to the government were 8.8 billion francs; discounts and rediscounts of commercial bills of exchange came to 36.5 billion francs (including 4.7 billion francs in medium-term bills of exchange connected with the construction of housing). Gold and foreign assets stood at 20.7 billion francs, as compared to more than 34 billion francs at the beginning of 1968.

M. IU. BORTNIK

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