25th anniversary of Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique
In 1943 Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique published a commemorative volume to celebrate the 25th anniversary since its year of establishment (as Kalamon Bank). A limited number of copies was printed and distributed to the bank’s employees and customers. The volume showcased the most important milestones in the bank’s history until then. Illustrations include wood engravings by established artist Spyros Vassiliou.
Commemorative volume to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique.
Illustrations include wood engravings by established artist Spyros Vassiliou.
Making it through tough times
In Greece, the years of WWII and the Axis Occupation were a constant fight for survival. It was a challenging time for all banks, and Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique was no exception.
The occupation forces missed no chance to plunder the Greek economy. As soon as the German army settled in Athens, bartering (the direct exchange of goods without any currency involved) gradually prevailed.
Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique tried to:
- Safeguard its assets, as it risked severe losses due to rampant hyperinflation.
- Ensure its employees and their families received food supplies. Supporting employees with food and clothing became the bank’s top priority.
- Use cash or sell debt securities to cover all these expenses.
Signs of marginal improvement
In late 1942, the Greek economy started to show signs of improvement, having received more sustained aid from abroad.
The prices of goods were also decreasing, mostly thanks to the measures taken by the German forces to regulate the economy and the monetary system. As a result, the previously soaring inflation (October 1942-April 1943) seemed to be contained at last.
At the same time, the value of the British pound dropped against the Greek drachma.
A cause for celebration
In 1943, with things finally looking up, the bank decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
The bank was established in 1918 as Kalamon Bank. In 1924 it merged with the banking department of the J. F. Costopoulos commercial firm to create Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique. Although headquartered in Athens, the bank established a network of regional branches in Southern Peloponnese.
The anniversary festivities were held at the main hall of the central branch. The bank’s President, Georgios Iatrou, opened the ceremony. General Manager Spyros Costopoulos was the event’s keynote speaker.
The speech delivered by Spyros Costopoulos
The General Manager expressed his hope that the worst had passed. Despite all the hardship, the journey was only just starting. The bank had no intention of resting on its laurels.
Everyone would get to see the better days to come, and the bank’s solid foundations would ensure many more such anniversaries.
The commemorative volume was published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Banque de Crédit Commercial Hellénique. A limited number of copies were printed and distributed to the bank’s employees and customers.
The volume listed the most important milestones in the bank’s history until then.
It was illustrated by well-known Greek artist Spyros Vassiliou (1903/4-1985). During the German Occupation, Vassiliou had turned to engraving. He produced wood engravings, illustrated manuscripts and hand-crafted editions that he distributed in secret.