Lloyds Bank Europe (Lloyds Bank (France)) records

Scope and Content

Records of the establishment, general operation and amalgamation of the bank.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1911 Lloyds Bank (France) was established when the Lloyds' board of directors sanctioned the purchase of Armstrong & Co., for £40,000. This established Lloyds in continental Europe for the first time, as Armstrong & Co. operated branches in both Paris and the channel port of Le Havre. After maintaining a steady business in the former Armstrong & Co. locations, Lloyds began to look to expand its European horizons.

In 1917, the National Provincial Bank, one of Lloyds' rival British-based clearing banks, entered into discussions to establish a European partnership, with each bank maintaining a 50% stake. Discussions were successful and Lloyds Bank (France) became Lloyds & National Provincial (Foreign) Bank. The new partnership was described as being 'a British bank, conducted on British lines'. The bank was designed to operate on the same lines as its British parent banks did. As a result, much of its business was dominated by the provision of services to British companies and British nationals operating on the Continent. The business model proved successful, and by 1938 the bank had nine branches in France, two in Belgium and one in Switzerland, as well as operating two offices in London.

Its British connections ensured that the bank was able to survive the Second World War, rescuing many of its assets from occupying forces in France and Belgium. However, many of the bank's staff suffered greatly. Staff from Lille and Roubaix branches had to join with other refugees, in appalling conditions, to reach Boulogne to board ships for England.

Retail banking continued to dominate the bank's business until the 1960s, when the development of the European Common Market led to an emphasis on the provision of wholesale banking. The 1960s marked a time of rapid expansion for the bank. Between 1960 and 1970 the bank's deposits grew from £41 million to £516 million; the number of branches also grew, numbering 19 by the start of the 1970s.

The connection with the National Provincial Bank ended in 1955 when Lloyds purchased their 50% holding. In 1964 the bank's name was changed to Lloyds Bank (Europe).

In May 1971 the bank merged with the Bank of London & South America (Bolsa) to form Lloyds & Bolsa International, in which Lloyds had a 51% stake. Two years later this became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds and in 1974 its name was changed to Lloyds Bank International (LBI). LBI was absorbed into the main business of Lloyds Bank in 1986.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is by appointment only, and at the discretion of the Archivist. Please e-mail archives@lloydsbanking.com for further information.