1929: Banca Commerciale Italiana e Greca (Comitellas), a Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) subsidiary, founded in Athens.
1943: Banco di Napoli (BN) branch opened in Corfu.
1975: BCI representative office opened in Athens.
1987: Istituto Bancario San Paolo (IBSP) representative office opened in Athens.
1992: Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde (CARIPLO) representative office opened in Athens.
1993: IBSP representative office in Athens transformed into a branch.
Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) turned its attention to Greece as early as the 1920s as part of its expansion program, which also involved the opening of other subsidiaries in Romania and Bulgaria.
In 1929 BCI founded Banca Commerciale Italiana e Greca (Comitellas), an anonymous company (SA) with headquarters in Athens, an agency in Thessaloniki and branches in Piraeus and Kavala. Its main job was to strengthen economic and commercial relations between Greece and Italy.
Difficulties at the outset, a local crisis and Greece's strong national banking tradition, which left little room for foreign banking institutions, forced BCI to remedy the situation by providing a substantial grant to Comitellas in around 1933. Due to the bank's large number of bad loans and overall negative situation, BCI did not expect any significant future growth for it; the only option was to gradually expand its pool of highest-value depositors and merchants.
In 1940, following the outbreak of World War II, Greek authorities seized Comitellas's offices and assets.
In 1943, as the war raged on, Banco di Napoli opened its own branch in Corfu.
In 1949, despite the improvement of the political situation in Greece (which had remained within the Anglo-American orbit), an expanded money supply and an improvement in the subsidiary's accounts, the decision was made to close Comitellas.
Later, in 1975 BCI opened a representative office in Athens, establishing a presence in a country that was at the time Italy's second most important commercial partner (after Germany).
In 1987 Istituto Bancario San Paolo also opened a representative office in Athens; it was transformed into a branch in 1993. Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde opened its own representative office in 1992, but closed it only a few years later, in 1998.
Banco Ambrosiano Veneto established a presence in Greece with its opening of a consultancy office in Athens.
Operations in Greece would continue over time through BCI's representative office - which later became Banca Intesa's and then Intesa Sanpaolo's - as well as through the branches of Intesa Sanpaolo's subsidiary, Bank of Albania.
ASI-BCI, Foreign Network, Managers, cartt. 6, 7, 11
ASI-BCI, Miscellaneous papers of Raffaele Mattioli (M1), cart. 3