A History of Public Banking in Portugal in the 19th and 20th Centuries  book cover
1st Edition

A History of Public Banking in Portugal in the 19th and 20th Centuries

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9780367612221
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
250 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the history of what became one of Portugal’s largest banks, the Caixa Geral de Depósitos. The bank was founded in 1876 by the state to run public deposits, and evolved into a savings bank, catering for both public and private deposits. Its history goes beyond the history of banking, as it ties in with the role of the state in the banking sector and financial markets.

The book weaves in and out of different political and international contexts, following the many changes of the Portuguese political regime and of its interactions with the national and international economy. The most important lesson from the study is that publicly owned institutions can compete successfully with the private sector when they simultaneously cater for the interests of policy makers as well as those of the public, in this case, the depositors. The history of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos therefore shows how the state of a peripheral economy is capable of successfully managing a large financial institution when the right set of incentives is in place.

This work will be a valuable resource for researchers and students of financial and economic history at both the advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It will also provide interesting insights for practitioners in the financial sector.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: The rise of public finance, 1820-1870

The Bank of Lisbon and the Public Credit Board, 1821-1846

The 1846 financial and the foundation of Bank of Portugal

1853: the new financial order

Chapter 2: Financial boom and crisis, 1870-1876

The liquidity boom, 1870-1876

The 1876 crisis

The Public Credit Board reformed once more

Chapter 3: The establishment of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, 1876-1880

The Parliamentary debate

The commencement

How it worked

Chapter 4: The establishment of Caixa Económica Portuguesa, 1880-1886

The debate on the public savings bank

The plan for the establishment of Caixa Económica Portuguesa

The wider financial reforms, 1885-1886

Chapter 5: The financial reform, 1886-1890

The progressive financial revolution

A new statue for the Bank of Portugal

Government control

Chapter 6: The financial crisis, 1890-1892

How it started

The radical solution

The progressives once more

Chapter 7: Back to the old order, 1892-1910

The return of the regeneradores

The 1896 reform

Chapter 8: The Republic, 1910-1926

The new political regime

The impact on Caixa

The second Republican reform

Chapter 9: The new order, 1926-1929

Before Salazar

Salazar as Finance Minister

Beyond public bonds

The 1929 reform

The politics of regime change at Caixa

Chapter 10: The consolidation of the Estado Novo, 1929-1935

Financial stability

Credit to the economy

Social housing and urban improvements

Caixa and the Empire

Chapter 11: Public investment, 1935-1950

The new state and the economy

The second World War

After the War

Chapter 12: Between the state and the market, 1950-1968

Financial concerns

The development plans


The new banking framework

Chapter 13: Staying behind, 1968-1974

The technocratic dictator

The public company

Hard times

Chapter 14: The nationalizations and beyond, 1974-1992

Regime change and the banking sector

Remittances and construction


The Caixa and the government

The acquisition of Banco Nacional Ultramarino

Chapter 15: Coping with the monetary union, 1992-2010

The fragile internationalization

The Iberian ambition

Following the language




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Pedro Lains (Lisbon, December 1959 – May 2021) was Research Professor at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, University of Lisbon. His main research interests were Portuguese and European economic history. He has published many books and journal articles in these fields, including a forthcoming edited volume on The Economic History of the Iberian Peninsula, 711–2000.