Talking GloCoBank - the story so far

The GloCoBank project was delighted to host a small group of colleagues, associates and graduate students for a research team meeting at St Hilda’s College, and virtually via Teams, on Thursday 25 November 2021. The event provided an opportunity for project team members to share updates on their initial research activities, to discuss their ideas and gain feedback from the wider research community.

The meeting commenced with a presentation from guest speaker, Raphael Heim, second year DPhil student at Oxford, on his research project ‘Information Networks and Information Diffusion in Financial Crises, 1973–2008’.  This ambitious project aims to improve understanding of information acquisition, diffusion and ultimately decision making in banking and financial markets during times of distress through a long term comparative approach, focusing on four central case studies – the stock market crash and international banking crises 1973/74, the 1987 stock market crash, the burst of the ‘dotcom bubble’ in 2000, and the 2007/08 global financial crisis.

This was followed by presentations from GloCoBank research associates Alena Pivavarava and Marco Molteni on the work that has been done so far to collect data from the Bankers’ Almanac, one of the key sources for the project. Working with an outsourced data entry partner, the initial phase of data collection has focused on collecting data from the International Banks list on London and New York correspondents and branches, starting with five year intervals between 1920 and 1985. Marco Molteni talked through the template that is being used and the challenges of working with the source, while Alena Pivavarava shared some of the first slices of data analysis which has been performed for a sample year 1985 and the exciting opportunities for further network analysis that this dataset offers. The eventual aim of the project is to build a dataset which will capture the links between thousands of individual banks involved in international payments through bilateral correspondent banking contracts across the whole 130 year period, 1870-2000.

Thibaud Giddey, Research Associate in European Networks, and project PI Catherine Schenk then presented an outline of a paper on Luxembourg as an international banking centre and its connections to the global correspondent banking network, ahead of delivering the paper at the FinLux seminar on 30 November. The presentation drew on analysis of data collected from the Bankers Almanac on British banks with Luxembourg correspondents between 1925 and 1990 which reveals a rapid intensification of the international correspondent banking relations of Luxembourg banks with London and New York banks between the 1970s and the 1990s, as well as the expanding periphery of the network in the 1980s. This regional case study provided an example of how the Bankers’ Almanac data can be used in combination with archival research to allow a much more granular assessment of the patterns and dynamics of international banking and payments.

Overall, it was wonderful to get people together to talk about the early stages of the project’s research, and related research areas, and the team benefitted hugely from the insights provided by participants. Thank you to all our participants and we look forward to continuing the discussions! 



2.00pm:               Welcome – Catherine Schenk 

2.05pm:               Introductions 

2.15pm:               ‘Information Networks and Information Diffusion in Financial Crises, 1973-2008’, Raphael Heim 

2.45pm:               ‘Bankers’ Almanac data collection project (1920-1985): the data template and collected data (1945)’, Alena Pivavarava, Marco Molteni

3.25pm:               ‘Global Correspondent Banking in the 20th century: the position of Luxembourg’, Catherine Schenk, Thibaud Giddey 

3.55pm:               Updates and discussion 

4.30pm:               Close 



Catherine Schenk, GloCoBank Principal Investigator

Alena Pivavarava, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Global Correspondent Banking 1870-2000 - Data Analysis

Marco Molteni, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Global Correspondent Banking 1870-2000 - Data Analysis

Thibaud Giddey, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Global Correspondent Banking 1870-2000 - European Networks

Sebastian Alvarez, SNSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Zurich

Wilfried Kisling, Assistant Professor in Economic and Social History, Vienna University of Economics

Raphael Heim, DPhil Student in Economic and Social History, Oxford

Uziel Gonzalez, DPhil Student in Economic and Social History, Oxford

Kirsty Peacock, DPhil Student in Economic and Social History, Oxford

Thomas David, Academic Visitor, Oxford; University of Lausanne

Duncan Ross, Professor of Economic & Social History, University of Glasgow