‘SOCIETE GENERALE’ was founded by a group of industrialists and financiers, the mission of the bank has always been to “promote the development of trade and industry in France”. On 4 May 1864, Napoleon III signed the founding decree of the Société Générale.
During the 1870s and 1940s, the branches of this bank increased from 46 to 1,500. It became the leading French credit institution in terms of bank deposits.
In 1871, the bank opened a London branch.
Société Générale was nationalized by a French law of 2 December 1945.
The Société Générale demonstrated its ability to adapt to a new environment by taking advantage of the banking reforms that followed the French Debre Laws of 1966–1967.
In June 1987, Societe Generale was privatized with a successful stock market launch and shares were offered to group employees.