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Immediately after the declaration of war, the president of France called upon the Sacred Union of the French people. Financial institutions rallied in support of the State, relaying the government s message of unity and patriotic enthusiasm to their customers and employees. From the first days of combat, banks endeavoured to maintain a constant connection between the front lines and the home front. Letters exchanged with mobilised employees permitted the exchange of news and the sending of wages, clothing and food, while the soldiers loved ones received family and cost-of-living allowances. The regular publication of war bulletins and information letters reinforced the sense of belonging to the bank. Throughout the conflict, banking institutions also contributed to the œuvres de guerre (war charities). Such contributions took various forms: financial support to relief committees assisting soldiers, war victims and refugees in the occupied regions; preparation of care packages for the soldiers; construction of military hospitals; and establishment of money transfer facilities for prisoners and foreign workers. When peace returned, the human toll was heavy. Some 1.4 million Frenchmen perished on the battlefields, died in the trenches, were decimated by disease or expired as a result of their injuries. One out of every five employees mobilised never returned from the front. The Act of 26 April 1924 provided for the redeployment of disabled veterans, pensioners and war widows through the creation of reserved posts in the administration and in companies.

Helping each other out Social assistance during the conflict

Donations from the Caisse d Epargne de Vendôme to war charities, 1914-1918.

Legally authorised as of 1914 to provide financial assistance to the victims of public disasters , savings banks during WWI subsidised numerous solidarity funds established locally to assist soldiers, their families and, more generally, people made vulnerable by the conflict.

Historical Archives of the Caisse d Epargne Loire-Centre, Collection of the Caisse d Epargne de Vendôme.