Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia

With the fall of the Serenissima, Venice entered a dark period that lasted twenty years, during which it saw five different governments (the Republic, the Municipality, the Austrians, the French and then the Austrians again through their Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia). These changes were naturally accompanied by wars, disorder and raids, and even more naturally by famine and epidemics of typhoid and the plague, which between 1817 and 1818 claimed more than twelve thousand lives in the lagoon city. The social programs implemented by the various regimes included measures aimed at improving the credit system. First, in 1806, the Napoleonic government reformed the old Banchi del Ghetto, setting up the "Banco Pignoratizio Comunale" (Municipal Secured Bank), modeled on the Monti di Pietà which had already existe for centuries in other towns. Then, in 1820, a different government (the Veneto Provinces of the Austrian Empire) introduced another system: the Casse di Risparmio (Savings Banks), which had been operating successfully for many years in other parts of Europe (Germany, Switzerland and England) and for a year in Vienna.

The aim was firstly to encourage people to save, and secondly to satisfy the need for credit, with support from the Monte di Pietà banks. Count Carlo Inzaghi, Governor of the Veneto Provinces, drew up regulations which, although inspired by the regulations received from Vienna, adopted different methods of management and administration: rather than relying on upstanding, wealthy citizens (as was the case with the Austrian "Unioni dei Filantropi", Union of Philanthropists), the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia was to be run alongside the Banco Pignoratizio in order to achieve the necessary administrative economies (using the same staff) and the resources resulting from its deposits would be held by the Banco Pignoratizio. The regulations were drawn up on this basis and were soon approved by the authorities. The Cassa di Risparmio opened on February 12th 1822, on Emperor Francis's birthday.

On February 13th 1822, Venice's "Gazzetta Privilegiata" announced the opening of the Cassa di Risparmio. The Cassa's first steps were rather shaky, and this was probably due to the hybrid nature of the service it provided to the people and its support for the Monte di Pietà, whose building it shared in the district of Cannaregio, near the Jewish Ghetto and in the area that had traditionally hosted Venice's pawnbrokers. In the years that followed, this rigid partnership gradually dissolved and the Cassa became increasingly independent from the Monte di Pietà, achieving full administrative and operational independence with its 1886 charter. In line with this process of independence and transparency, customers' confidence grew, enabling the Institute to develop and grow to its current form and size.

The Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia began to expand in the 20th century, opening a branch in Mestre in 1910, followed by Portogruaro in 1911, Chioggia in 1912 and Dolo in 1913. Contact with the social situation in Venice was also favored by the gradual assumption (begun in 1912) by the Cassa of tax collection and treasury services for the local public institutions and authorities. By the end of 1987 the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia had 59 branches covering the whole of the province of Venice, the boundaries of which had begun to be somewhat tight for the bank's growing activities. (In addition to the lagoon city of Venice, the province of Venice covers an area of around 2,500 square kilometers on the mainland, with a population of about 850,000 people.) And so in 1988 the Cassa began to expand into the neighboring provinces: the first branch was in Lignano (Udine), and this was soon followed by branches in the provinces of Treviso, Vicenza, Padua, Rovigo, Pordenone and Udine.

In 1994, the season of  alliances and mergers with other banking and financial institutions began, the aim being to achieve a better domestic and international competitive edge and offer a wider range of services to customers. Together with the Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo and the Banca Agricola di Cerea, the 'Casse Venete' (Veneto savings banks) Group was then formed, which later expanded to include the Cassa di Risparmio di Udine e Pordenone and the Cassa di Risparmio di Gorizia. The Casse Venete in its turn merged with the CAER Group (comprising the Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna and the Banca Popolare dell'Adriatico), creating the Cardine Group which, in 2002, was itself merged with the Sanpaolo IMI Group. In its area, the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia is today a modern inter-regional bank with a network offering a complete range of traditional services as well as the most advanced on-line banking products.

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