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Signing of the first concession for the establishment of an Albanian national bank,
4 October 1913

100 years ago, on 4 October 1913, on behalf of the Albanian Government, Ismail Qemal Bej Vlora signed the first concession for the establishment of an Albanian central Bank. Other signing parties were the representatives from the two prominent financial groups of that period, respectively Karol Pitner and Oskar Pollak on behalf of the Austro-Hungarian group and Pietro Fenolio and Guido Ansbaher on behalf of the Italian group. Due to the unstable situation in Albania in the early years of that century, also to the upcoming events following the outbreak of the First World War, the National Bank of Albania did not succeed to start its operations. However, the compilation of this concession on the establishment (of the National Bank of Albania” remains an important document to the Albanian central banking history, a cornerstone for this institution, which conformed the European standards of that period. For the founder of the Albanian modern state, the national bank was "...the second victory, after the freedom”. 

One of the primary issues that the Albanian Government chaired by Ismail Qemal Bej Vlora took care of was the foundation of an issue and credit bank in Albania, that will carry out its activity conform the standards of the international European Banks. Ismail Qemali viewed the National Bank as a financial institution, whose primary goal was not its own profit, but the country development, while the earnings were to be realised through the economic development and the stabilisation of the Albanian independence country. The establishment of such a bank represented many difficulties, particularly because Albania was still not known as an independent state in the international arena.  Notwithstanding this acknowledgement on 29 July 2013, again the lack of stability made impossible the establishment of a bank with Albanian core capital.



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Pages by Concession Agreement on the establishment of the National Bank of Albania, having the signature of Ismail Qemal Bej Vlorës, five ministers of the Temporary Government of Vlora and the signatures of the Italian and Austria-Hungarian financial groups’ representatives.


On 4 October 1913, Ismail Qemal Bej Vlora signed what was officially known as “akt konqesie” (a concession agreement).  This concession agreement to establish the National Bank of Albania with an initial capital of 10 million krone or 10.5 million lira, in gold, was valid for 60 years. Under the agreement, the National Bank of Albania, with the Austrian and Italian capital, was entitled to issue banknotes, with Albanian and French descriptions, covered in gold for no less than 1/3 of banknotes. The bank would be the only financial agent of the government for domestic and international transactions. It was the only institution to trade government T-bills and other securities on its behalf. Under the agreement, it could also perform other financial operations, such as: selling and buying securities, currencies, precious metals, commodities, for its own accounts or third parties. It would accept deposits and extend credit to commercial, industrial, financial and agricultural enterprises. The Bank finally undertook to issue guaranteed bonds and perform mortgage operations. The Bank finally undertook to issue guaranteed bonds and perform mortgage operations.

Ismail Qemali was confident that the National Bank of Albania would develop the country economically and consolidate its independence. But the challenges facing Albania in that period did not provide any possibility to the Bank to carry out its business. 

In June 1914, the National Bank closed down, having performed no significant operations.

 

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