Gender and Financialisation of Retail Banking in Spain, 1950-1975

Abstract This paper uses access to a previously unexplored archive or Spanish´s banks marketing material to argue a shift in Braudel´s concept of "longue duree", namely the access of large number of women to the retail banking sector without explicit approval of their husband or father. Between 1950 and 1975, a censorship service (and integral part of the institutions during Franco´s dictatorship) was deployed within the Spanish central bank (Banco de España) to control and supervise all of the banks´ marketing. An examination of surviving printed material enables us to map a shift in the strategies of banks into large scale consumer banking and indeed the start of a new period which some have labelled “financialization”. We identify three “events” or moments in this shift in which women appear first as a decorative figure, second early steps to attract women as customers, and third outright targeting of women customers. Here the pathbreaking role of Banco de Bilbao takes centre stage as it began stage two before there had been a regulatory change in 1971, enabling women to open accounts or acquire personal loans without the husband’s approval. We also reflect on how marketing to women a channel for the eventual direct marketing of retail financial services to adolescents and children was. The database enables us to map how other large, medium and small commercial banks followed the Bilbao. The database ends abruptly with the dead of the dictator. This paper thus contributes to the history of marketing and the business history of banking but also sheds light in to the less explored beginning of financialisaton of every day life. This paper can be delivered in English or Spanish by Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo (Susana Martínez will take part through video conference).