Memories and documents covering sixty years of a bank’s business condensed into a book
A company is made up of men and women. Obviously, there are machines and equipment, technologies and procedures too. But these come to nothing without the presence of those who have the ability to operate them. Telling the true tale of companies is the same as telling the tale of the people who have contributed towards making it a success. This is because, upon closer inspection, corporate culture is not about machines, but rather about the minds who control them. This applies to factories, and also to banks.
“Il San Paolo di Torino, 1946-2006. Storia narrata da chi in gran parte l’ha vissuta” (San Paolo in Turin, 1946-2006. Story told by those who experienced most of it) is an interesting example of the tale of a company – in this case a bank -, told by those who spent the most part of their lives inside its offices. A courageous book. Starting with the title, which says it all about the tone of the text: a story told by those who experience most of it. Not a story of numbers, therefore, but of people.
The book, curated by the Associazione Studi Storici del San Paolo (San Paolo Historic Study Association), tells the tale of one of Italy’s biggest banking institutions from post WWII to the merger with Banca Intesa, that gave rise to the modern-day group in 2007, number one in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe. Throughout the pages (about 300), there is as we said no mention of numbers as the be-all and end-all, but instead the book offers a testimony to the social, cultural, ethical and solidarity values of the Bank, the affairs of which (from its fusion with IMI to the one with Intesa) are interwoven with the history of Turin, of Italy and beyond, considering the influence that San Paolo had on national and international affairs.
Obviously, it starts with an analysis of a large quantity of documents (balance sheets, circular letters, newspaper articles), with the addition of tales by those who refer to themselves as “sanpaolini”, in other words the people who worked in the bank’s offices.
The profound sense of belonging to the Bank is thus documented. The book becomes a sort of choral tale of lives, which is strengthened further by the many photographs and period document reproductions shown in its pages. Corporate tradition that is manifested in words and pictures.
In short, it is attention to accounts but also to the people that emerges from the pages of this book, which should be read with care and appreciated for what it is: the result of many work experiences that outline the culture of a significant company.The supportive implication established by the authors and by the editor is also appealing: the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Fondazione FARO onlus non-profit organisation in Turin, which provides free assistance at home and in hospital to sufferers of serious illnesses and their relatives, and which supports medical and scientific research.
Il San Paolo di Torino, 1946-2006. Storia narrata da chi in gran parte l’ha vissuta (San Paolo in Turin, 1946-2006: Story told by those who experienced most of it)
Associazione Studi Storici del Sanpaolo