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“Gilortul” and “Polovrăgeanca” banks, founded in 1916, President Ioan Gh. Ionescu (1931)

Popular banks were founded by teachers between the 19th and 20th centuries. Most were in the counties of Dâmbovița, Dolj and, very importantly, Gorj. Gheorghe Dumitrescu-Bumbești himself said about this situation: “A handful of people took up the fight and already 3 counties have listened to us. The large number of economic companies that we have set up in these 3 counties is the signal that poverty, in the Romanian home, must disappear, and the foreign moneylender…must leave. Let all those who miss the country join us, and by educating the peasant, let him know how to work, how to save, how to help himself with his own money, taking from popular banks”.

After the unfortunate death of Dimitrie Brezulescu in 1916, I. Dem Petrescu effectively managed the “Gilortul” and “Polovrăgeanca” banks.

In order to overcome the lack of capital in the Romanian village world, the intelligentsia was in favour of associations at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, one of the forms of association being the founding of popular banks aimed at offering cheap loans to the peasantry for the purchase of land, animals, agricultural tools and the founding of households. In this way it was considered that the peasantry would evolve and the Romanian village would have the opportunity to modernise, but also as “an instrument intended to contribute to the harmonisation of the interests of all classes and social categories and to the development of the national economy”.
Our county was one of the leading counties of the cooperative movement of those times, names such as Gheorghe Dumitrescu-Bumbești, Alexandru Ștefulescu or Dumitru Brezulescu entering history precisely as a result of the activity carried out in this field. Gh. Dumitrescu-Bumbești stated that “cooperation is a serious and sound way of improving the country’s general economy and harmonizing the social classes”, because these classes “organized on the basis of cooperation, rising economically, acquire a state of mind and a higher consciousness, thus forming a firm and healthy foundation for the entire social structure, which ensures not only the existence of the state, but also its sound development”.

People’s Bank at Polovragi
The wind of cooperation blew to the farthest corner of Gorj County, leading to the establishment of the Popular Bank “Polovrăgeanca”, the credit and economy society of Polovragi commune, on 29 September 1904. The initiative was taken by 36 leading villagers of the commune, depositing a share capital of 2110 lei “of which 211 lei have now been paid at the time of establishment, with the remainder to be paid gradually, in monthly proportions”.
Among the initiators and the amounts deposited, we mention: priest Miron Constantinescu (700 lei), Petre Tucă (100lei), Const. Chivu (20lei), Nae Popescu (100lei), Dumitru Andronescu (50lei), N. Popescu (200lei) etc.
The Board of Directors was composed of 9 people, namely: priest Miron Constantinescu – president, Nicolae Popescu – vice-president, Nae Popescu, Ion Fl. Simionescu, Ion Ștefu, Petre Zăvoianu, Petre Tucă, M. Misăilescu, N. M. Iancu-members.
The board of censors was composed of 3 shareholders: Eftemie Diaconescu, Ion I. Pătroescu and Dumitru Antonescu. Major inhabitants of Polovragi, Baia de Fier and Sârbești communes, who were not part of another cooperative with the same objective, could be members. At the beginning, the bank’s activity was limited to granting loans, but in the following years it diversified and expanded.
After the unfortunate death of Dimitrie Brezulescu in 1916, I. Dem Petrescu effectively managed the “Gilortul” and “Polovrăgeanca” banks, energetically applying the moral principles that were at the foundation of the banks and their companies: He bought Brezulescu’s houses and donated them to the Ministry of Health for the establishment of a hospital in Novaci; he built the church and the school in Novaci; the church and the school in Polovragi; he organized country festivals and financed works for the electrification of the villages of Novaci, Hirișești, Pociovaliștea, Sitești, Bumbești-Pițic, Poienari, Baia de Fier, Polovragi and Cernădia, which were completed in 1939.
In 1928, this bank had 92146 share capital, 184 members and 270882 lei deposits for fructification.
In 1931, when all companies were obliged to re-register with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the bank had a subscribed capital of 736168 lei, with the same amount paid in cash. The Board of Directors consisted of 8 members, the president being Ionescu Gh. Ioan and the vice-chairman, priest Dumitrescu Nicolae.


Băncile populare au fost înfiinţate de învăţători la graniţa dintre secolele XIX şi XX. Cele mai multe erau în judeţele Dâmboviţa, Dolj şi, foarte important, Gorj. Despre această situaţie, chiar Gheorghe Dumitrescu-Bumbeşti spunea: „O mână de oameni am întreprins lupta şi deja 3 judeţe ne-au ascultat. Numărul mare de societăţi economice ce am înfiinţat în aceste 3 judeţe este semnalul că sărăcia, din casa românului, trebuie să dispară, iar străinul cămătar…trebuie să plece. Unească-se cu noi toţi cei cu dor de ţară, şi deşteptând pe ţăran, să ştie cum să muncească, cum să-şi facă economii, cum să se ajute tot din banii lui, luând de la bănci populare”.

După regretabila dispariţie a lui Dimitrie Brezulescu în anul 1916, I. Dem Petrescu a condus efectiv băncile „Gilortul” şi „Polovrăgeanca”
După regretabila dispariţie a lui Dimitrie Brezulescu în anul 1916, I. Dem Petrescu a condus efectiv băncile „Gilortul” şi „Polovrăgeanca”

Pentru înlăturarea lipsei de capital din lumea satului românesc, intelectualitatea a fost favorabilă asocierilor la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX, una din formele de asociere reprezentând-o şi întemeierea băncilor populare menite să ofere credite ieftine ţărănimii pentru cumpărarea de pământ, animale, unelte agricole, întemeierii de gospodării. În felul acesta se considera că ţărănimea va evolua iar satul românesc va avea posibilitatea să se modernizeze, dar şi ca „un instrument menit să contribuie la armonizarea intereselor tuturor claselor şi categoriilor sociale şi la dezvoltarea economiei naţionale”.
Judeţul nostru a fost unul dintre judeţele fruntaşe ale mişcării cooperatiste ale acelor vremuri, nume ca Gheorghe Dumitrescu-Bumbeşti, Alexandru Ştefulescu sau Dumitru Brezulescu intrând în istorie tocmai ca urmare a activităţii desfăşurate în acest domeniu. Gh. Dumitrescu –Bumbeşti afirma „cooperaţia reprezintă o cale serioasă şi temeinică de propăşire a economiei generale a ţării şi de armonizare a claselor sociale”, deoarece aceste clase „organizate pe baza cooperaţiei, ridicându-se economiceşte, dobândesc o stare de suflet şi o conştiinţă superioară, formând prin aceasta o temelie trainică şi sănătoasă întregului aşezământ social, fapt care asigură nu numai existenţa fiinţei statului, dar şi temeinica lui dezvoltare”.

Bancă Populară la Polovragi
Vântul cooperaţiei a suflat până în cel mai îndepărtat colţ al judeţului Gorj, determinând în anul 1904, la 29 septembrie, înfiinţarea  Băncii Populare „Polovrăgeanca”, societatea de credit şi economie din comuna Polovragi. Iniţiativa au avut-o 36 de săteni fruntaşi din comună, depunând un capital social de 2110 de lei „din care s-au vărsat acum la constituire 211 lei, urmând ca restul să se verse treptat, în proporţii de pe lună”.
Dintre iniţiatori şi sumele depuse, amintim: preotul Miron Constantinescu (700 lei), Petre Tucă (100lei), Const. Chivu (20lei), Nae Popescu (100lei), Dumitru Andronescu (50lei), N. Popescu (200lei) etc.
Consiliul de administraţie era compus din 9 persoane şi anume: preotul Miron Constantinescu-preşedinte, Nicolae Popescu-vicepreşedinte, Nae Popescu, Ion Fl. Simionescu, Ion Ştefu, Petre Zăvoianu, Petre Tucă, M. Misăilescu, N. M. Iancu-membri.
Consiliu censorilor era compus din 3 acţionari: Eftemie Diaconescu, Ion I. Pătroescu şi Dumitru Antonescu. Puteau fi asociaţi locuitorii majori din comunele Polovragi, Baia de fier şi Sârbeşti, care nu făceau parte dintr-o altă cooperativă cu acelaşi obiectiv. La început activitatea băncii s-a rezumat la acordarea de credite, pentru ca în anii următori să se diversifice şi să ia amploare.
După regretabila dispariţie a lui Dimitrie Brezulescu în anul 1916, I. Dem Petrescu a condus efectiv băncile „Gilortul” şi „Polovrăgeanca”, aplicând cu energie principiile morale care au stat la temelia întemeierii băncilor şi societăţilor lor: a cumpărat casele lui Brezulescu şi le-a donat Ministerului Sănătăţii pentru înfiinţarea unui spital la Novaci; a ridicat biserica şi şcoala din Novaci; biserica şi şcoala din Polovragi; a organizat serbări câmpeneşti şi a finanţat lucrări pentru electrificarea satelor Novaci, Hirişeşti, Pociovaliştea, Siteşti, Bumbeşti-Piţic, Poienari, Baia de Fier, Polovragi şi Cernădia, care au fost finalizate în anul 1939.
În anul 1928, această bancă avea 92146 capital social, 184 societari şi 270882 lei depuneri pentru fructificare.
În 1931, când toate societăţile comerciale au fost obligate să se reînscrie la Camera de Comerţ şi Industrie, banca avea un capital subscris de 736168 lei, cu aceeaşi sumă vărsată numerar. Consiliul de administraţie era format din 8 membri, preşedinte fiind Ionescu Gh. Ioan iar vicepreşedinte preotul Dumitrescu Nicolae.
Din păcate, dosarul referitor la banca populară „Polovrăgeanca” păstrat în fondul arhivistic „Camera de Comerţ şi Industrie Craiova-Sucursala Tg-Jiu”, aflat în depozitele Serviciului Judeţean Gorj al Arhivelor Naţionale, nu păstrează informaţii despre desfiinţarea acestei bănci, fapt întâmplat undeva la începutul epocii comuniste. Cert este că, odată cu instaurarea regimului comunist şi promulgarea Decretului 197 din 12 august 1948 privind lichidarea întreprinderilor bancare şi a instituţiilor de credit, băncile populare şi-au încheiat activitatea, după ce, prin operele sale de binefacere şi cultură au ajutat şcolile, bisericile, societatea. (Cristina Vasiloiu)

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Digital Assets update

MicroStrategy Liquidates $103M Worth Bitcoin

Alongside Bitcoin’s drop under $25,000, it is important to recall MicroStrategy’s CFO’s comments. The comments were regarding the possibility of getting a margin call at $21,000 on the company’s huge BTC holdings.

On the May 3 earnings call, Phon Le, the firm’s new Chief Financial Officer, described the collateralization method on MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin position. He assured that they need not put extra cash into their holdings. As MicroStrategy prepares its first margin call, investors are at ease. This is due to the large liquidity collateral at the company. The company’s current capital is more than sufficient to support the present position and begin a fresh one.

Coin Center takes US Treasury to court over alleged financial spying

Coin Center filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department in federal district court — challenging the enforcement of Section 6050I’s reporting mandate. Coin Center, a Washingon, DC-based non-profit blockchain advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Treasury for allegedly provisioning an unconstitutional amendment in the controversial infrastructure bill.

The 6050I amendment requires individuals and businesses to report information related to all incoming transactions worth $10,000 or more, which includes the sender’s name, date of birth and Social Security number. Coin Center, in its announcement, highlighted how the amendment affects the entire crypto community, including the NGOs that receive anonymous donations and nonfungible token (NFT) artists who will have to reveal their client’s personal information to the government.

True Global Ventures doubles down on Web3 with $146M ‘follow-on’ fund

The TGV4 Plus Follow On Fund was led by a group of 15 general partners who committed over $4 million on average (over 40%) into the fund.

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Crypto Stats and news for beginning 2022

The trading volume on decentralized Ethereum exchanges exceeded $1 trillion in 2021. The segment leader Uniswap accounted for more than 64% ($686 billion). SushiSwap exceeded $156 billion, Curve – $84 billion.

The year 2021 opened a lot of L2 solutions to the cryptocurrency community to scale Ethereum. The total blocked liquidity in such protocols exceeded $5.5 billion by the end of the year. Arbitrum remains the segment leader ($2.4 billion). The top three are dYdX and Loopring with almost $1 billion and more than $550 million, respectively.

Bitcoin is ‘integral part of digital asset revolution’, says IMF

IMF economist Tara Iyer said that “Crypto assets such as Bitcoin have matured from an obscure asset class with few users to an integral part of the digital asset revolution”, adding this transition comes along with financial stability concerns.

In absolute terms, the overspills from Bitcoin to global equity markets are significant, explaining about 14% to 18% of the variation in equity price volatility and eight to 10% of the variation in equity returns.

Pakistan’s central bank reportedly wants to ban crypto

Pakistan’s finance and law ministries are yet to make a decision on a potential blanket ban on crypto in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is reportedly seeking to ban all cryptocurrency transactions in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Sindh High Court reportedly held a hearing related to the legal status of cryptocurrencies in the country, in which several Pakistani authorities, including the SBP, submitted a document to the court, arguing that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) are illegal and cannot be used for trade. 

Tether has blocked 160 million USDT 

According to Etherscan, stabelcoin issuer Tether recently froze three addresses containing over $160 million worth of USDT.

A company spokesperson stated that, Tether has blocked 3 addresses with a total of $160 million at the request of law enforcement, and at this time they can’t disclose details.

Recall: Tether has previously stated on multiple occasions that it regularly cooperates with regulators to oversee suspicious accounts, perhaps this is just the beginning

Visa survey finds 25% of firms willing to accept cryptocurrency payments

About 25 percent of small businesses in nine countries would accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, according to the latest Visa Inc. survey.

📌 The survey was conducted among 2,250 small business owners from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Ireland and Russia.

📌 The researchers found out that digital money can become a universal means of payment. In addition, Visa surveyed 1,000 other adults in the U.S. and 500 adults in nine countries.

“I think people feel safer with cryptocurrencies,” said Visa global director of commercial sales and acquisitions Janie Mundy.

📌 While the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has increased globally over the past two years, and digital assets are popular with investors of all levels, they are still not a payment instrument.

The number of U.S. cryptoinvestors increased by 70% in 2021

According to the latest survey conducted by cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, the majority of cryptocurrency owners from the United States made their first crypto investments in 2021.

📌 The survey covered 3,100 U.S. adults and was designed to gauge respondents’ knowledge of cryptocurrencies, their sentiments and attitudes toward the crypto market. The study found that 68% of respondents first learned about crypto and started buying it in 2021. 21% of respondents started investing more than two years ago. 12% of Americans surveyed made their first crypto investments in the last four years, and 9% got into digital currencies more than four years ago.

📌 However, according to the survey results, Americans are not investing too much in crypto. 46% of those surveyed have invested $1,000 or less in cryptocurrency. 25% reported owning between $1,000 and $10,000 in digital currencies.

On-Chain Data Shows Number of ETH Holders At All-Time High

There are now over 68 million Ethereum addresses holding a balance, showing steady growth despite a declining price.

The number of Ethereum addresses holding ETH is at an all-time high. Transactions are also trending upward, with the number of daily ETH transactions at approximately 1.2 million.

Coinbase partners with Mastercard

Coinbase has partnered with Mastercard to simplify the NFT buying process for regular users. 

Coinbase believes that: “Just as we first helped millions of people access Bitcoin in an easy and reliable way, we want to do the same with NFT.”

To recap: Coinbase recently launched a peer-to-peer NFT marketplace called Coinbase NFT. And the aggregate trading volume of NFT has grown almost 400 times in a year.

UK will tighten the terms of cryptocurrency advertising

📌 The U.K. Treasury Department announced that it will take tough action against “misleading cryptocurrency advertising. Such campaigns will be brought in line with the rules applicable to traditional finance, “ensuring their honesty and clarity.

📌 Only organizations already regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Bank of England will now be able to carry out crypto-advertising campaigns.

📌 The statement notes that while about 2.3 million Britons own cryptocurrencies, awareness of the asset class is declining. In this regard, most advertising is aimed at retail investors with low knowledge, which makes them bear significant financial risks.

📌 The agency emphasizes that strengthening consumer protection will not be accompanied by any risks for innovation.