Ľudové peňažníctvo ako nástroj hospodárskej politiky agrárnej strany na Slovensku 1918 - 1938

Popular Banking as an Economic Policy Instrument of the Agrarian Party in Slovakia from 1918 until 1938

Popular bank-industry of the inter-war period emerged as the most stable part of the credit system in Slovakia an even in the whole Czechoslovak Republic. It was a safe haven of financial system especially during the uncertain times of the Great Depression. An important advantage was the high level of the popular bank-industry in the Czech lands which was an example for Slovakia. It helped to implement the modern structure of bank-industry in four basic types of institutions: credit cooperatives, Peasant Mutual Offices, municipal savings banks and trade credit houses. The situation in Slovakia was the same as in the Czech lands – the significant part of the popular bank-industry emerged as a result of the activities of the agrarian political movement (Agrarian Party). It was a segment of the popular financial houses net comprised from credit cooperatives and Peasant Mutual Offices which played a key role in the developed economic system of the mentioned political party. Successful economic expansion of the popular bank-industry and its economic, administrative, political and economic advantages enabled the Slovak wing of the Agrarian Party to extent its influence in financial sector at the expanse of the most significant commercial banks. In the 1930s, they started their push in Slovakia and their central offices – Central Cooperative and the Union of the Peasant Mutual Offices – gained control over strategic positions in the credit system. They crossed the border of popular bank-industry and got their capital into several commercial banks and with their help they started the capital expansion to the business sector. This process had strengthened the political and economic positions of the Agrarian Party in Slovakia. On the other hand, it also contributed to the stabilization of the credit system and enabled the Slovak finance capital to expand once again. Among the personalities responsible for this trend were representatives of the economic groups close to the Agrarian party and most significantly representatives of the Slovak wing of the party under the leadership of multiple minister and later prime minister of the Czechoslovak Republic Milan Hodža. He used the successful growth of the popular bank-industry and especially Peasant Mutual Offices – whose foundation he inspired – for implementation of his long-time plan of strong financial centre for financing of the agrarian sector in Slovakia. His plans were accomplished only partially. The idea of a Peasant Bank was enforced only by the new regime after 1938 but under completely different economic and political conditions and with totally different intentions.