This book examines Spain’s financial development during a period when note-issuing banks were prevalent. Spain authorized the plural issuance of banknotes in 1844 and formally revoked it on March 19, 1874, when a legal monopoly was granted to Banco de España. In the interim years, up to twenty-one provincial banks began issuing bearer notes. The purpose of this study is to analyze the role played by this plural issuance in the growth of the modern Spanish banking system.
Issuing banks were instrumental in the spread of the banknote (the great financial innovation of the time), as well as the generalization of current accounts and the funding of regional productive activity. The abrupt ending of this right was due to the overriding needs of central government. The authors question the form and timeliness of the decision made in 1874 to grant the issuance monopoly to Banco de España.
The book is divided into four parts. The first explores the theoretical arguments for and against plural issuance with reference to diverse experiences in Europe throughout the 19th century. The second looks at Spanish issuing banks from a global perspective. The third is organized into three chapters corresponding to individual essays on the banks studied in the years 1845-1874. Finally, the fourth and last part reviews the circumstances in which plural issuance was brought to an end.
Directed at a wide readership, the study draws on original sources that will prove especially interesting to scholars of banking history. Its main contributions comprise, on the one hand, aggregate and disaggregated analyses of the issuing-bank data presented and, on the other, a detailed study of the social, institutional and economic background to plural issuance in Spain.
This book has an electronic annex which supplements the print edition.