Country profile

Poland

date 1927 - 2013
banks Bank Handlowy w Warszawie
Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI)
Istituto Bancario San Paolo (IBSP)
International Bank of Poland (IBP)
Bank Rozwoju Exsportu SA (BRE)
Intesa Sanpaolo
description

TIMELINE
1927: Stake in Bank Handlowy w Warszawie acquired by Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI).
1935: Stake in Bank Handlowy w Warszawie transferred.
1975: BCI representative office opened in Warsaw.
1990: Stake in International Bank of Poland (IBP) acquired by BCI.
1997: Istituto Bancario San Paolo (IBSP) representative office opened in Warsaw.
1997: Stake in IBP transferred.
1997: Stake in Bank Rozwoju Exsportu SA (BRE) acquired by BCI

Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) first began investing in Poland following World War I and the foundation of the Second Republic of Poland in 1918. The decision to do so was based on not only BCI's eagerness to expand into other European countries for economic ends, but also the patriotic sentiment of its managing director, Joseph Toeplitz, who was a Pole.
A year after granting a foreign bond loan to Poland in 1924, BCI made another loan of two million dollars to rescue Bank Handlowy, which had been founded in Warsaw in 1870. It acquired a minority stake in the bank in the process, but in 1935 signed an agreement to transfer it to the Polish government.
Only in 1974 would BCI establish a direct presence in Poland's capital city, setting up a representative office that continued to operate even during the delicate historic period of martial law in the early 1980s; it would also remain active after BCI merged with Banca Intesa in 2002.
The economic and political reforms that took place in Poland after the fall of the Berlin Wall; the support it received from international bodies such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Economic Community, as well as individual governments, to help develop a market economy; and, finally, its size, geographic position, and abundance of raw materials led to BCI's 1990 decision to open a new representative office in Gdańsk. The office never actually materialized; however, BCI did acquire a stake in International Bank of Poland (IBP), which was later sold and replaced with another in Bank Rozwoju Exsportu SA (BRE), which had close ties with Commerzbank.
In 1997 Istituto Bancario San Paolo - which from 1992 to 1994 had taken part in a World Bank-funded technical assistance project to support Powszechny Bank Kreditowy SA (PBK) - also opened a representative office in Warsaw as part of its plan to expand into Eastern Europe. Indeed, at the time Italy was Poland's second largest trade partner, and there were numerous Italian business concerns in the country.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Guido Montanari, A banker from Poland: exploring J˛zef Toeplitx's international connections through his correspondence, in "Foreign financial institutions and national financial system ", EABH, Varsavia, 2013, pp. 203-221
Michele D'Alessandro, Guido Montanari, BCI and International Capital Transfers to Poland between the Wars, in "AA.VV., Towards a global system? European Banks within the Evolving Economy", EABH, Varsavia, 2000
Banca Commerciale Italiana, La Polonia economica nel quinquennio 1919-1923, Milano, 1924

Bank Handlowy w Warszawie (Handlobank), Warsaw Head office on 7-9 Traugutta ul., photograph dated ca. 1927-1935 taken from the book "Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA. History and development 1870-1970", 1970, fig. 1 (photographer unknown)
Cover page of the book "Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA. History and development 1870-1970", 1970
Bank Handlowy w Warszawie, diagram of the bank's local network taken from the book "Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA. History and development 1870-1970", 1970, p. 3
Banca Commerciale Italiana, Warsaw representative office on 13 Krakowskie Przedmiescie - Hotel Europejski Hotel Europejski , 1974 photograph by E. Paszkowska)
"La presenza della Comit nella cittÓ di Varsavia, article from the house organ "TempoComit", 1998, n. 25, pp. 36-37
Banca Commerciale Italiana, advertisement for the bank's Warsaw representative office, taken from the book "Domestic and foreign activities in 1977", 1978, p. 34
Istituto Bancario San Paolo, Warsaw representative office, 1997 (photograph by Tomasz Wierzejski)
Istituto Bancario San Paolo, Warsaw representative office, 1997 (photograph by Tomasz Wierzejski)