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Samsun


Banks    EN

Author: ERLER ΜΕΗΜΕΤ YAVUZ
History of banks

*Professor of 19 Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey

The Ottoman fiscal system adapted itself into the European capital investment economic status quo from the beginning of the 19th century onwards. The first attempt towards this could be regarded the establishment of the Banque de Constantinople in 1847. However this attempt faded away with the European market crises of 1848 and fell into bankruptcy in 1852. During the Crimean War, the allied countries displayed an interest towards Ottoman unexploited fiscal opportunities and re-established another bank with royal sponsoring. Queen Victoria issued a Royal Charter in Jun 1856, in order to provide the financing for an Ottoman Bank, which would accommodate the commercial activities in this part of the world, introduce a banking system with European currencies and explore a new sphere of opportunities for British merchandises[1]. This sophisticated fiscal organization lured the Ottoman administration into a likewise investment and led to the establishment of the agricultural banks of the Ottoman state. Both the state owned Ottoman and Agricultural Banks competed with each other in every corner of the Ottoman state to make investments for future benefits and poured hard currency into new opportunities of investment. Thus, factories, workshops and new agricultural products were scattered in each corner of the state and it was the port towns especially that benefited mostly.

The establishment of private banks in Trabzon and Samsun in 1886 could be described as an enterprise designed to give impetus to local trade and commerce. Such a speculation could be within the reach of even small-scale capitalists, who could safely invest their money in these parts with with the satisfactory security of 10 or 12 per cent interest, instead of the 2 or 3 per cent obtainable in England[2]. Sooner rather than later, the state owned bank came to realize the foreign interest in the region and facilitated the fiscal conditions by setting up a branch of the agricultural bank in the region. The authorities succeeded in bringing about the establishment of an agricultural bank in Trabzon. The manager was aided in his work by a paid accountant and six honorary members forming a board. The bank opened a credit for the crops of the district at a rate of 6 per cent interest[3].

In November 1891 a branch of the Imperial Ottoman Bank was ultimately established in Trabzon as well as in Samsun. They each had a director and an assistant director, together with two or three accountants. This national bank of deposit, discount and circulation should do well in these parts, where interests were so high and money was so scarce[4]. It was pointed out in the British commercial report of the same year that it would take time to upset the local monetary regulations, which were in place. However, it was a welcome surprise to find out that the bank had commenced to hold its own against the clique of money-lenders and usurers. Mr. Chaoul, the new manager in Trabzon, popularized the bank to an unexpected degree among a people remarkably suspicious, tenacious and conservative. The agency retained a number of correspondents at the principal ports along the coast from the Russian frontier to Fatsa, as well as in Erzincan , Erzurum and Van[5]. However, there was a bankruptcy declared around 1893. The depressing conditions of trade were deeply felt. Slack business and small profits caused several failures and this did not occur solely among retail sellers, but wholesale dealers too. The British firms therefore thought best to restrict themselves to cash terms only in their business transactions in these parts. In these circumstances, the Imperial Ottoman Bank afforded the facility of cashing the amounts of such invoices with their bills of lading, issued for this purpose[6]. The local branch of the Imperial Ottoman Bank had evidently taken firm root in the country before 1896. Considering all the adverse circumstances of the year, the extent of its operations was on the whole actually encouraging for the future[7]. Parallel to the branch of the Imperial Ottoman Bank there were several private bankers of good standing operating. The Banque de Athenes closed its branch in Samsun along with that in Trabzon, towards the end of 1913 and withdrew, due to the war[8].

 


[1] Ethem Eldem, 135 Yıllık Bir Hazine Osmanlı Bankası Arşivinde Tarihten İzler, Osmanlı Bankası, Istanbul 1997, p. 26-27.

[2] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p. 1100.

[3] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.1170.

[4] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.1187.

[5] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p. 1243.

[6] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.1222.

[7] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p.1269.

[8] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. III, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p. 1619.


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