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Lithuanian Trade and Industry Bank

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In close proximity to the building of the Money Museum and the Bank of Lithuania in Vilnius, there is another building that is very important to Lithuania’s banking history.

Nowadays, Gedimino pr. 3 is home to the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, but in the beginning of the 20th century it was built to house Vilnius branch of the Gosbank. When Lithuania regained its independence, in October 1918 (until then, the Kaiser government stalled the establishment process for a long time) the first national commercial bank was established there (Lithuanian Trade and Industry Bank, lt. Lietuvos Prekybos ir Pramonės bankas). The State Council of Lithuania established it, although it had no power of government yet. A group of men (Martynas Yčas, Jonas Yčas, Saliamonas Banaitis, Jurgis Alekna and others) took up the initiative to establish the bank. The establishment of a Lithuanian bank attracted quite a lot of interest of Vilnius residents. This is what one of its founders Adomas Prūsas wrote in his memoirs: “Although there were no clients at the bank during its first days of operation, the hall itself was not empty. Residents would come to see it, as if it was some kind of miracle...” There might be a few reasons why the residents’ interest was piqued - both the fact that it was the first Lithuanian bank and the security that guarded the bank (20 soldiers armed with rifles with bayonets). At first, the bank had 25 employees and only two of them knew how to perform banking operations. Due to an unstable political situation, the bank’s turnover was small. When the Bolsheviks were nearing Vilnius, the bank’s management and the cash office moved to Kaunas. Only a bank’s branch remained in Vilnius and it was liquidated a few years later by the Polish government.


It was the only Lithuanian bank established in Vilnius and the only one that was in operation until the second half of 1919.
 

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Last updated: 2021-06-23