Bucharest (Oct. 21)
The Marmorosch Blank Bank, one of the biggest banks in Roumania, the head of which was M. Aristide Blank, the famous Jewish financial authority and philanthropist, has fallen into serious difficulties, like a short while back the other big Jewish bank in Roumania, the Berkowitz Bank, the head of which, ex-Senator Berkowitz, is the President of the Bucharest Jewish Community and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Roumania.
There was a run on the bank to-day, and the State had to step in to assist in paying out the deposits. All depositors were paid in full, but the Government has taken over responsibility for the Bank, and is to carry out a complete reconstruction.
M. Aristide Blank, the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors, has resigned, retaining, however, an option to resume the position on the repayment of a sum of two milliard Lei out of the amount of 5 milliard which the Government has contributed towards the reorganisation of the Bank.
M. Blank has been succeeded as Chairman and Director General by M. Alexander Stefanescu, Director of the National Bank of Roumania.
The Banca Marmorosch-Blank, which was founded in 1848 and has played a tremendous part in the economic and financial upbuilding of Roumania, was brought into existence by Jacob Marmorosch, in association with his brother-in-law, Jacob Loebel, and later Mauriciu Blank, the father of M. Aristide Blank, came into the business in 1863, on his return from his studies abroad. He was one of the first Roumanians to receive a degree in commerce and finance, and six years after he had joined the firm he was taken into partnership, and in 1874 it became known as the Marmorosch-Blank Bank.
The Bank financed the laying of some of the most important railway lines in Roumania, the building of bridges, the establishment of big factories, and it was largely represented in the development of the important Roumanian petroleum industry.
M. Mauriciu Blank died in 1929, but he had already been in retirement for some years, his place having been taken by his son, M. Aristide Blank. M. Aristide Blank, who became a leading figure in the Bank about the time of the Great War, has written a good deal in the press and in the form of treatises on economic and financial problems, and he is regarded as an important financial authority. He was the initiator of the Paris and New York branches of the Bank, and the Roumanian Government has entrusted him on various occasions with important missions abroad. He also initiated the Franco-Roumanian Air Service, by founding the Compania Franco-Romana Navigatic Aeriana, which links Roumania by air with Paris and the chief cities of the world.
Although founded by Jews and to a large extent regarded as a Jewish institution, the Marmorosch-Blank Bank has, however, since its conversion into a limited company been, with the exception of M. Aristide Blank himself, directed by a Board of Directors of non-Jews, including prominent politicians and ex-Ministers, some of whom have even been regarded as antisemites, and for some years past Roumanian Jews have been complaining that the tendency of the Bank was beginning to turn in a similar direction to that of the other banks in the country, where Jews encounter difficulties and discrimination when applying for credit facilities, because they are Jews.
The great danger to Roumanian Jewry, it has been repeatedly urged by some of its leaders, is that the Jews of Roumania belonging to the trading and shop-keeping class find it difficult to obtain the financial and credit facilities without which they cannot carry on their businesses, because the financial institutions of the country discriminate against them for no other reason than that they are Jews.