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1850 - 1875

Creation of large French banks

In the 19th century, the banks helped finance world trade and the construction of the railways. Some of the leading bankers were renowned personalities of the time. James de Rothschild, for example, founded the French arm of the Rothschild banking group, while in 1836 Jacques Laffitte created Caisse générale du commerce et de l'industrie, the first bank to extend long-​​term financing to companies (liquidated in 1848). The Pereire brothers founded Crédit mobilier in 1852, with a similar objective: to finance industrial development.

The 1863 limited companies act provided for the creation of banking institutions capable of absorbing the savings of the middle classes, and, between the wars, those of the working classes too. As from 1863, Council of State authorisation was no longer needed for the creation of limited companies provided their capital was below 20 million francs, a restriction which was lifted in 1867. The new banks that emerged at the time included Crédit foncier (1852), Crédit Lyonnais (1863), Société Générale (1864) and Banque de l'Indochine (1875).

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