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Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb

​Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb established BANQUE MISR and its platforms  based on certain perceptions, emerged from the philosophy of mind he had as well as his vision for the future developed through long years of hard work and struggle in life.
Since an early age, Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb had a set of excellent traits, which qualified him to be a great man.
He was a writer, orator, historian, economist and a nationalistic person of the first rate.



 Emergence and Development
Concept of BANQUE MISR
 Establishing BANQUE MISR
Establishing companies of BANQUE MISR
Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb resigns

 

Growth and Development

Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb was born on November 25, 1867 in El-Gammalia, Cairo.
He obtained a degree from Law School and started his career as a translator at the Law Suits Section of the Royal Circuits, which was in charge of state-owned agricultural areas.
He progressed up the career path till he was appointed as Manager of Law Suits Section.
However, he was inclined to free enterprise.
He worked as Manager of Kom Ombo Company, which was active in  reclaiming and selling land lots, and then he was the manager of the Egyptian Real-estate company, in which he succeeded to have the majority of shares owned by Egyptians.
He studied economics, science, art and literature, as well as French.
He wrote several books, among which were: The Economic Remedy of Egypt and Creating the bank for Egyptians or the Nation’s Bank (November 1911), in which he wrote: “We need a genuine Egyptian bank operating along with the existing banks, to extend a helping hand to Egyptians, encourage them to venture into industry and  trade, urging them to save and make use of financial activities which are progressively increasing.
The concept of achieving this purpose has appeared in newspapers several times and then disappears.

 

  

 

 The idea of establishing Banque Misr

In the First Egyptian Conference, Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb took the opportunity of that meeting of Egypt’s major personalities   and the Conference Committee put forward the idea of establishing an Egyptian bank.
The conference has unanimously decided to establish an Egyptian bank with Egyptian capital and selected Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb to travel to Europe to study this idea after making a thorough study of national banks and their operation in European countries.
Then, when the book written by Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb was published, each Egyptian believed in the concept he is advocating and urged its implementation. However, due to the World War I, that was declared on August 4, 1914, the idea came to a standstill and remained as ink on paper.
The war ended in 1918 and the great Egyptian revolution took place in 1919, which was the first spark indicating the necessity of creating BANQUE MISR, so that the country can achieve economic independence to support its political independenceMohamed Talaat Pasha Harb resumed advocating for this venture with authoritative persons   The  occupation authorities have tried by all means to question the value of the project and to hint that Egyptians are not qualified enough to conduct such financial projects.

 

  

 Story behind establishing Banque Misr

Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb succeeded in convincing 126 Egyptians to subscribe to establish BANQUE MISR.
The amount they subscribed was eighty thousand Pounds, representing twenty thousand shares, at four pounds per share.
The largest subscriber was Abdel Azeem El-Masry Bek, one of the notaries of Maghagha, who bought one thousand shares.
On Tuesday, April 13, 1920, Al-Waqaae Al-Masriya, the official newspaper has published a decree for establishing a joint-stock Egyptian company called “BANQUE MISR”.
The  company’s articles of associations had been made by eight out of the 126 shareholders, all of whom were Egyptians.
The deed was unofficially made on March 8, 1920, a year after the Egyptian revolution, and was registered on April 3, 1920, less than a month later.
Those eight persons were: Ahmed Medhat Yakan Pasha, Yousef Aslan Qatawy Pasha, Mohamed Talat Harb Bek, Abdel Azeem El-Masry Bek, Dr. Fouad Sultan, Abdel Hameed El-Sioufy Effendi, Eskandar Messiha Effendi and Abbas Basiouny El-Khateeb Effendi.
Those persons represent the three religions, which is a proof of the genuine national unity of all Egyptians during the revolution.
The preliminary deed of the company stated that the purpose of establishing BANQUE MISR was to carry out all banking operations, such as deductions, giving credit against goods, documents, securities, exchange, commission, accepting deposits, opening accounts and credits, selling and buying bonds and securities, participation in issuing bonds, in addition to other banking activities without limitation.
It further stated that the bank’s capital may be increased by a decision of the generalaAssembly of shareholders and that the bank shall be managed by a board of directors composed of a minimum of nine members and a maximum of fifteen members, to be elected by the general assembly .
As an exception of that rule, the first board of directors was appointed, including: Ahmed Medhat Yakan Pasha, Yousef Aslan Qatawy Pasha, Mohamed Talat Harb Bek, Abdel Azeem El-Masry Bek, Dr.
Fouad Sultan, Aly Maher Bek, Yousef Cicurel Bek, Abdel Hameed El-Sioufy Affandi and Abbas Basiouny El-Khateeb Affandi.
The board of directors elected Ahmed Medhat Yakan Pasha as Chairman and Mohamed Talat Harb Bek as Vice Chairman and Managing Director, who continued in that position till 1939.
The deed provided that a board‘s member should have at least 250 shares and should continue to hold such shares for as long as he is a member.
It further stated that a shareholder having less than five shares shall not be a member of the general assembly .
In the evening of Friday, May 7, 1920, a celebration was held to mark the establishment of BANQUE MISR.
BANQUE MISR was established based on the following principles: 
- Establishing an Egyptian bank with an Egyptian capital, management, staff and adopting Arabic as the language of its business.
- Shifting the development of national economy from agricultural investment to industrial investment and proving the creative skills of Egyptians.

Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb has come to the conclusion that the failure of previous industrial ventures was not at all due to the lack of potential of the country or to its agricultural nature.
He had a clear vision of establishing an industrial sector, which utilizes the savings of Egyptians channeled through a national Egyptian bank.
This would create the awareness of the importance of saving and investment, rather than holding on to money.
The objectives of BANQUE MISR have become clear, so that it became the link between the people and various economic sectors of the country. 
The existence of an industrial sector was essential for other sectors, such as transport, trading and finance, to carry out business more efficiently. 
Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb has adopted a first-rate planning strategy based on his belief in the value of BANQUE MISR that he had established as a holding authority establishing a group of independent companies that will gradually lead to progress of BANQUE MISR and other economic sectors, as a result of interaction of such ventures.
The wise strategy of Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb led to many developments of the national economy, which were to a great extent linked to the activities of BANQUE MISR and its companies or were a result of its activities.

  



Establishing the companies of BANQUE MISR

 

Within a short period of time, Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb succeeded in establishing several companies from 1920 to 1938.
He adopted a creative way for this purpose, which is to allocate part of the annual profits of BANQUE MISR, which appears in the balance sheet under the heading of “Funds allocated to establish or develop Egyptian industrial and trading companies”, to contribute to the capital of such companies with an amount to allow controlling their policies. The remainder of the capital is offered for the public.
BANQUE MISR established by Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb was not an ordinary commercial bank, but in the minds of its founders, it was means to collect the savings of Egyptians to be invested in establishing Egyptian companies, which produce all requirements of Egyptians at a high quality and low prices.
Thus, BANQUE MISR has turned into a holding company, through the creation of several companies, which all had a common goal “to complement each other”, which is known as the integrated economic activity.
These companies were not just financial institutions aiming at material profit only, but they were national industrial establishments seeking to meet the essential needs of local market and at the same time they were technical institutes for training a large number of Egyptian manpower in all industrial, economic and financial matters.
BANQUE MISR has continued to perform its great national mission and has provided the people with what other foreign banks could not provide and has spread its branches all over the country.

 

  

 

Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb resigns

BANQUE MISR had a crisis which was a set-up by the British occupation and the National Bank of Egypt at that time, which refused to provide credit to BANQUE MISR against its portfolio of securities, in addition to the negative position of the government, which has allowed the Postal Savings Fund to withdraw all its deposits from BANQUE MISR.
The great Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb met with the Minister of finance, Hussain Serry Pasha, requesting him to approve any one of three options: The government may issue a statement to guarantee the clients’ deposits with BANQUE MISR, instruct the National Bank of Egypt to provide credit to BANQUE MISR against its portfolio or order freezing the withdrawal of deposits of the Postal Savings Fund.
Serry Pasha agreed with one condition, namely that Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb should leave BANQUE MISR for good.
Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb immediately agreed to that condition, saying “As long as my resignation will mean that BANQUE MISR will survive, then I shall go, so that the bank can continue”. 
That was another proof of the genius of Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb who believed that no man is immortal, but he will be immortalized by his memory and deeds. 
Mohamed Talaat Pasha Harb chose the survival of his achievement which personalized his thinking.