Ri Shengchang Bank of Pingyao
The Ri Shengchang Bank is the first financial institution in China. Its main business includes deposit money, loan, exchange, and so on. The Ri Shengchang Bank opens the first page of the banking industry in China. It was set up in 1823, and the founders were a rich merchant Li Dajin and his general manager Lei Futai. It's the first and the biggest bank which deals in exchange in China.
The Ri Shengchang Bank locates on West Street in Pingyao. In those years, there were a lot of banks on this street. So this street was called the first street of finance in the Qing dynasty. Ri Shengchang bank has a famous reputation as the land of wealth. The annual exchange amount can reach 1 million taels to 38 million taels. The general bank is on West Street in Pingyao, and it has an area of more than 1600 square meters. And there are more than 35 branch banks, which can be found in cities all over China. With the appearance of the ancient banks, the finance industry has gone into a new stage.
The old site of Ri Shengchang bank was refitted in 1995. In December 1995, the Ri Shengchang bank was listed as an important relic-preservation unit. Now, it is opened to be the Museum of Chinese Ancient Bank. It has more than 20 exhibition halls. And the most important two parts include the history material exhibition and the original condition exhibition. Seeing the exhibitions, we can work out the focus on the development of Chinese ancient banks. It collects many precious materials from many different ancient banks, which shows a concise and vivid response to the history of Chinese ancient banks. The Ri Shengchang ancient bank is representative of Chinese ancient banks. It suits the market, operates flexibly, pays attention to its reputation, and brings forth new ideas. Its business policy and principles can be used as an important source of reference when the present companies reform and develop their policy.
At the end of the Qing dynasty, one day, a widow who begged for food in Pingyao came to Ri Shengchang bank. She took along with a bill of exchange which was in the Zhang Jiakou branch bank. The amount is 12000 taels. After the careful check of the bank assistant, they found that this bill of exchange had been officially signed and issued when Emperor Tongzhi was in power. It was more than 30 years separated from the time that the money should be drawn. The shopkeeper carefully looked up the old account book and cashed the money. Originally, the widow's husband did business in Zhang Jiakou, and he deposited in Ri Shengchang branch bank in Zhang Jiakou. But on the way he returned to Pingyao, he died because of disease. His wife begged for food for years. One day, she found a bill of exchange from Ri Shengchang bank in the pocket of the jacket that her husband left. So she took the bill of exchange and cashed the money. After that, the Ri Shengchang bank rose to fame.
What is worth mentioning is that when the ancient bank was set up, there was a lot of foreign aggression and internal disorder. But the Ri Shengchang ancient bank has been kept for one hundred years in turbulent times. The managerial system is admired by Western excellent managerial experts.
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