Company history

The BNP Paribas Group is born of successive mergers between several banks that were created during the industrial revolution early in the 19th century. From the start, these banks’ missions were to finance the economy and serve their customers worldwide. This long-standing purpose over two centuries is now deeply embedded in the Group’s fabric.

BNP Paribas, a witness to and player in 200 years of economic and social transformations 

BNP Paribas was officially established on 23 May 2000 at the merger between BNP, France’s leading deposit bank, and Paribas, an international investment bank. But its features and values have been forged, transmitted and acquired over 200 years of history marked by developments, transformations and challenges – in a word, BNP Paribas represents two centuries of a bank at the service of the global economy.

"The Group’s 200 years of history are incorporated in what makes up BNP Paribas’ DNA today. To explore BNP Paribas’ legacy is to explore 200 years of economic and financial history on five continents."

Marie Laperdrix

Head of BNP Paribas Archives & History department

Highlights of BNP Paribas’ history

In three minutes, re-live two centuries of history with a flashback on highlights on how BNP Paribas was established and on its expansion worldwide.

Two centuries of banking in 3 minutes of archives

Since 1822, the BNP Paribas Group has developed and reinvented its activities, while following upheavals and transformations in the economy and in society. Explore BNP Paribas’ history of change. 

Pioneering times, 1822-1913 

As actors of the second banking revolution, BNP Paribas’ forerunners were committed to promoting economic development.

Standing the test of time, 1914-1965 

BNP Paribas’ predecessors develop and are reinvented despite successive crises.

BNP Paribas, a major European group since 2000 

The merger of BNP with Paribas gave birth to a European-scale banking group with a solid national foundation and international reach that allowed it to take on one of the banking industry’s major challenges: digital technology.

The modern bank, 1966-1999 

The creation of BNP in 1966 marked the advent of mass banking. This new bank – number one in France and number two in Europe – aimed to consolidate its international expansion and cope with new market challenges. 

BNP Paribas accelerates digitalisation in the banking sector


2013
: BNP Paribas launches Hello Bank! in France, the first fully digital European bank. Hello Bank! is designed to address customers’ increased needs for speed and simplicity when they are moving about.

2017: Nickel, the first French neo-bank, joins the BNP Paribas Group. In favour of financial inclusion, this offer allows users to open a bank account in five minutes at any tobacconist shop, with no minimum income requirement and with no overdraft or credit facilities.

"Since 1882, BNP Paribas has been a major player and a historical witness of transformations in society and economy, in Europe and worldwide." 

Jean Lemierre

Chairman of the Board of Directors of BNP Paribas

A top-level document legacy that reflects BNP Paribas’s history

Over two centuries of adventures, the bank has preserved some remarkable documents that bear witness to its mission to finance the economy, to its international standing and to its engagement towards society. BNP Paribas is now the depositary of an historical archive of documents - a legacy that reflects all aspects of its long past. Financing industry, international trade, and companies; by guiding clients in their projects and daily transactions in a spirit of innovation and social and environmental engagement – the Group’s historical markers, are sustained in its archives. BNP Paribas’s archives are a truly valuable intangible asset that stimulate historical reflection and shed greater light on past, current and future economic phenomena. Moreover, as an actor engaged in society, BNP Paribas supports scientific research, particularly by providing access to its documentary resources. 

Our documentary resources

BNP Paribas’s archives are a truly valuable intangible asset that stimulate historical reflection and shed greater light on past, current and future economic phenomena. Moreover, as an actor engaged in society, BNP Paribas supports scientific research, particularly by providing access to its documentary resources. 

More information

Learn more about our historical archives

23,671

photo reports

and 2,394 videos (as of end 2021)

3,620

posters

and more than 5,700 prints (as of end 2021)

7km

linear of paper archives

and more than 3,000 objects (as of mid 2023)

Well of History

To find out more about BNP Paribas’ historical archives and how to access our document resources, discover the BNP Paribas Well of History website. 

Discover

One history, several angles 

Beyond a mere timetable of events, to explore BNP Paribas’s origins is also to become acquainted with all aspects of its long history.

A selection of contents reveals some of the highlights of the BNP Paribas Group’s history.

The golden age of mechanical data processing


Around 1939, employees of the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (BNCI), the ancestor of BNP, carried out accounting operations in a mechanical workshop, located at the bank's customer securities custody center in Dinan.

© Historical Archives BNP Paribas

Podcast ATM Stories, Always Telling More

ATM Stories, Always Telling More by BNP Paribas: this is the podcast that brings you behind-the-scenes and unusual stories about the bank around the world. These highlights that make up the uniqueness and culture of a group with 2 centuriesof existence to be consumed everywhere and at any time!    

Listen to ATM Stories on Well of History