INCORPORATED by Royal Charter in April, 1917, the British Trade Corporation was, in its earlier plans, perhaps the most ambitious among all the special banks founded since the war with the avowed object of operating in foreign fields. It was organized to carry out the recommendations of a Departmental Committee of the Board of Trade, whose terms of reference suggest the hopeful, if undefined, scope of the Corporation's activities--"To consider the best means of meeting the needs of British firms after the war as regards financial facilities for trade."
Something of the enthusiasm attending its first efforts is caught up in these statements made by the Governor in the First Annual Meeting ( January 31, 1918):
We are genuinely desirous of assisting the export trade of the country by providing financial assistance as far as our means will permit; we are anxious to provide the commercial community with information that may come into our possession and that may not be readily available from other directions, and we hope that we may, when business revives, be made the pivot upon which important syndicates for great industrial developments at home and abroad may revolve.
Our measure of usefulness must not be judged by our present issued share capital, but rather by the parties by whom that capital is held, and the conviction of those who have the management of your affairs that--given success with the moneys now entrusted to us--there will be no difficulty in getting more when the necessity arises.