italian version

The Banco di Chiavari Historical Archives: an unusual case of preservation
by Antonella Frassinelli

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Privatizations, takeovers, mergers, and incorporations: trading banks are currently facing profound changes in company structures and newly formed commercial banks.
The Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure, founded in Chiavari in 1870and soon after, a solid presence in the Liguria region, has not been spared from the flow of these economic changes, which began to unfold in the mid 70s In 1968, the bank became part of the group “Banca Commerciale Italiana”. The group leader, COMIT, first took over around 80%; which was subsequently reduced to 69,62%. Over the following years, working constantly to widen the operating network, the Banco increased its presence significantly in the region. With the take-over of the Banca Galleani in Alassio in the early 1980s, the Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure grew in number to 11 branches in the Savona province.
In December 1999, following the merger between Comit and Banca Intesa, the Banco di Chiavari became part of the Intesa Group, which became Intesa BCI in 2001. The majority shareholding of the Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure passed to Intesa BCI which was renamed Banca Intesa in 2003.
In 2003, with a purchase of shares equal to 69,621% of the joint stock, the Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure became part of Bipielle Bank Group which, in June 2003, owned 87,26% of the shares of the Banco di Chiavari.
With the buyout by the Banca Popolare di Lodi, now known as Banca Popolare Italiana, the historic archives of the Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure, previously reorganized and available for consultation, was closed to the public and temporarily stored in premises inadequate for its safekeeping.
In order to make the archives accessible once again and, above all, to avoid its dispersion, the Archival Superintendence office of Liguriaseveral meetings took place with the BIPIELLE management –the new holder of the archives – where a possible transfer of the archives was hypothesized with a bailment to a local cultural institution.
This idea became reality on 12th December 2006 when the order was given to transfer the archives to the Ansaldo Foundation.
The order of compulsory custody was issued in order to “ensure its preservation, but also (article 127)…to ensure access to all interested researchers.”This operation was possible thanks to the previous agreement (November 2005) between Ansaldo Foundation and the Department for Cultural Assets, based on the joint activity for the recovery, safekeeping and valorization of the archives produced by business in Liguria. Thanks to this unprecedented public-private cooperation based on the sharing of theoretical principles and methodologies, it was possible to guarantee adequate custody and valorization of a valuable documentary testimony to the economic and financial role played by the Banco di Chiavari.
The historical archives of the Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure, whose records add up to about 700 items (envelopes and registers), documents the activities of the bank from 1870 up to the present.
The records, once they arrived at the Ansaldo Foundation with no accompanying equipment, were well arranged and in a good state of preservation with labels attached on the back of every envelope and every register. This enabled our team to quickly compile a detailed checklist thus making the archives immediately accessible to researchers. We found records regarding five branches (Chairmanship and Board of directors, General Management, Shares and Stock Exchange Office, Treasurer’s Office, Legal Office) which were each divided in seven sections and more than seventy archival series from 1870 to 2003. The minutes of the shareholder’s meetings, of the board of directors and the inventory books date uninterruptedly from 1870 to the half of the 1990. Moreover, there are also interesting records regarding the accounting (1870-2003), the employees (1903-1972) and the secretary’s office (1872-1970), as well as the records concerning the SOE – Executive Organization Service (1905-1981) and two envelopes containing legal paperwork (1898-1952). In addition, there are the aggregate archives regarding: Consorzio di Bonifica Agraria Chiavari, The Anglo American Agency Bank, Soc. An. Chiavarese per Costruzioni ed Esercizio Tramvie Ferrovie economiche e complementari and Nicola Giuseppe Dallorso Foundation, which include 17 items (envelopes and registers) and a single envelope containing the personal records of Nicola Giuseppe Dallorso, chairman of the Banco di Chiavari from 1936 to 1954.
At present, we are working on the analytic filing of the records with the goal of publishing the inventory by the beginning of 2008.


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