of the banks main financial resources: their capital. This situation gradually gave pre-eminence to banks that owned resources more closely indexed to national wealth s no- minal growth, ie deposits, which kept pace with inflation. Thus, the large deposit banks and the new mutual banks (Crédit Agri- cole, Banque Populaire) that developed under government su- pervision gradually became banks providing a bit of everything: from current accounts to financial advice, and from commer- cial credit to long-term financing. The expansion of banking services from the 1920s to the 1980s did not only reflect a rise in the number of households with a bank account, but also the growing use of banks by the productive economy. The reinforced role of banks compared to the financial markets was offset by gradually greater government intervention. Pre- viously a free and independent profession, the banking sector attracted increased government intervention as of 1914. The hierarchical structure of banks made them easier to control, guide and influence than the markets. From the war onwards, the conversation between banks and the government intensi- fied and became more institutionalised, either directly, via the loan issues, or indirectly, through greater control exerted over financial bodies that were neither fully public nor fully private, such as Banque de France, Caisse des Dépôts, Crédit Foncier, and soon, Crédit National. The relatively decentralised notion involving local markets and players was gradually replaced by a more centralised logic revolving around top management and the big Parisian institutions: a more hierarchical logic, under which banks, the French currency and finance became somewhat governed . Partly rejected in 1919-1920, this funda- mental legacy of the war calmly ran its course throughout the 1920s, made a comeback in the 1930s and finally asserted it- self in the 1940s, only to be completely called into question in the 1980s.
Hence, in just four years, the twentieth century in terms of finance, was charted, tested, and partly rejected, ie a very brief financial century, in fact, since it only lasted until the 1984 Banking Act (when banking and financial activities were deregulated). Yet it combined two contradictory features: the distinct weakening of the position of market finance and the considerably stronger role of banks.