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(full name, Société Générale Pour Favoriser le Développement du Commerce et de I’Industrie en France), one of the three largest commercial banks of France. Founded in 1864 by an international syndicate headed by the banker Rothschild as a joint-stock company with its administrative center in Paris. The members of the syndicate included, in addition to representatives of the French financial olicharchy, important bankers from Belgium, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland.
Until the law of 1945 regulating banking business in France and dividing banks into commercial (deposit) and business (investment) banks, the Société Générale was a bank with diversified activities. On Jan. 1, 1946, it was nationalized, and the former stockholders were issued inscribed bonds paying yearly dividends. The bonds are amortizable over a period of 50 years, beginning in 1947.
The Société Générale performs all the operations of a deposit bank, its main operation being the issue of loans for foreign trade. In 1971 it had more than 1,800 branches in France and abroad and offices in the United States and Great Britain and was represented in Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Tunisia, and Indonesia. It also has subsidiary banks in France, Belgium, Spain, and Argentina. In Lebanon and in several African states, including the Ivory Coast, the Malagasy Republic, Tunisia, the Central African Republic, the People’s Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, and Mauritania, it operates jointly with a number of banks set up as its branches. It also has joint operations with many French and international financial companies. Its fixed capital and reserves are 650 million French francs, and its total balance is 46.7 billion French francs. On Jan. 1, 1971, its deposits amounted to 38.9 billion, the total of its discount loans to 35.7 billion, and its cash and current accounts to 5.4 billion francs.
K. A. SHTROM