The Romanian Banking During the Interbellum (Il Sistema Bancario Romeno Fra Le Due Guerre) (Italian)
Rivista di Storia Finanziaria, No. 22, pp. 95-120, 2009
Posted: 26 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 25, 2010
The study analyses the development of the Romanian banking system during the interbellum and focuses on the role of the main historical events affecting the financial sector of this country. Thanks to the establishment of foreign financial institutions, the Romania’s banking system had attained at the turn of the century, a diversified structure and adequate operational standards. In 1916, Romania entered the war on the Entente side and eventually achieved national unity. Thanks to well conceived reforms, the country could enjoy an age of domestic political stability as well as of social and economic progress. Although still placed among less developed countries in Europe, Romania played a remarkable role in international relations. Nationalisation of banks which had connections with financial groups of Central Europe increased the share of Romanian capital in domestic banking industry. In addition, inflow of foreign capital and financial know-how from a number of western industrialised countries made a substantial contribution to further growth, broadening and deepening of the whole financial sector. The great depression severely impacted Romania’s economy and financial system and, as a result, many banks failed. Furthermore, the crisis caused social unrest and political instability. After the crisis, the Romania’s central bank on the one hand gained more power in terms of banking regulation and supervision, but on the other hand its functions were integrated into a new framework of steady and generalized government control. As an important supplier of raw materials in continental Europe, Romania could gain a quick economic recovery in the years before the outbreak of World War II, but. Default of Anglo-French guarantee of Romanian territorial integrity after the collapse of France resulted, first, in the loss of territories and, second, in the shifting of the country into the sphere of German hegemony followed by the conferment of its natural resources into Germany’s wartime economy. The political and economic dominance of Germany was reflected also in the Romanian financial sector, where some leading institutions changed governance accordingly. By participating in the invasion of Soviet Union in 1941 with the aim of recovering the lost territories, Romania entered the Second World War. The Romanian banking system was fully involved in financing the war effort. Military defeat, followed by Romania’s capitulation, caused the surrender of Bessarabia, Northern Bucovina, Herţa and Southern Dobruja and, eventually, the fall of the country itself under Soviet rule. A Soviet-type government-owned and centrally planned economy was established in Romania and, consequently, a socialist banking system was enforced by means of nationalization and concentration of financial intermediaries.
Keywords: Banking System, Romania, Financial Development, Banking Legislation
JEL Classification: G01, G21, G28, N 24, N44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation