European Guide on
Banking and Reverse Mortgage Loans

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E A B H strong lender of reverse mortgage loans. G U G international reverse equity loans. SEBH reverse mortgage loans all across Europe.

Concept of the Guide:

Intention of the Guide:
Banks and businesses no longer limit themselves to the national market but rather operate on a world-wide basis. This process has been strengthened through the creation of the European market and the European Union, and with European Monetary Union (EMU) will play an even more significant role in the far-reaching horizons of a European business.

Historians and archivists concerned with the history of banks and businesses are interested in the firms of national and international business partners. However, information on the history of European firms and on their archives are often hard to access. The European Guide on Banking and Business Archives will be a starting point at which to begin one´s search.
A further aspect by the compilation of the Guide is the creation of contacts between archivists, thereyby allowing for the exchange of information on a European level. Another aspect is that the Guide will intensify the integration of the European community of Archivists and Historians.

One of the main intentions of the Guide is also to provide information in English - an international language, avoiding frustration when faced with a native language guide. This can facilitate access to archives and information about banking and business history from far a field. The Guide can provide archive users with information before visiting the chosen archive. It also allows for exchange of information between archives on
an international level.

Content and Editing of the Guide:

Despite a lot of similarities in the European countries, each country has its own peculiarities and traditions in its situation of archives and sources on banking and business history. Therefore a co-operation with contact-people
in all the European countries was necessary. These contact-people did provide the editors with all the necessary information on archives and sources in their country, especially names and addresses of companies running a relevant archive department.
Another task of the contact-people was to write a short introduction (2 - 3 pages) on the archive situation in their country.

A European Guide on Banking and Business Archives cannot be as detailed as national guides and also is not intended to compete with them. Therefore crossreferences to national guides (already existing or in progress) are included in these introductions. To give the user of the Guide the possibility to make contacts with other archivists on an international level, national archival organisations are also listed in these introductions.

Selection of the archives:

Due to the enormity and variety of European banks and businesses it is clear that the Guide cannot be as detailed as a national guide. Therefore strict criteria for the selection of the archives were necessary. These criteria are:

· national scope of the bank / company
· professional management of the archive (no record depots)
· accessibility of the archive for research
· records older than thirty years.

One of the main differences between the European countries is the role of state archives in the preservation of sources on banking and business history. In a lot of countries, not only in the former socialist countries, a huge amount of records are not stored in archives of banks or businesses but in public archives on national or local level. In some countries also regional business archives are of great importance in the preservation of banking and business records. Both regional and state archives are of special consequence for "ownerless" archives of companies that do not exist anymore.

Description of the Archives:

To collect the informations we send standardised questionnaires to the archives. As the Guide is intended to be more than a simple address-directory, short texts on the companies, their history and their archive records are included. To secure a high and uniform level of the descriptions the information given by the archives was is edited at the Frankfurt Office. This is also necessary in order to secure that professional and scientific contents were not mixed with promotional aspects.

The Publication:

The Guide is published as an online searchable database on the INTERNET. The INTERNET offers an enhanced searching function and an easy way to keep the data up-to-date, as well as allowing us to continually add further companies to the Guide. The publishing via INTERNET also offered the possibility to start with publication before the final amount of data has been completed. However as a site "in progress" with only limited information often deters the user from returning for a second time, therefore publication was started once a large amount of information was available. This hopefully will keep the users' attention and ensure that he/she will return to the site.

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