In 1853 a discount box was opened in Turin in the form of a company between private bankers under the auspices of Camillo Benso di Cavour. The life of this institute, which was called the Cassa of Commerce and Industry of Turin, was immediately tormented. A first rescue had to be organized already in 1856, three years after its foundation, and the Rothschilds of the French branch assumed the burden, wanting to prevent competitors like the Pereire brothers or the English bankers from entering the Italian market.
However, even the rescue attempt was unsuccessful. In 1860 the Cassa was restructured and Domenico Balduino was placed at its summit at the suggestion of the director of the National Bank in the Sardinian States Carlo Bombrini and with the assent of Cavour.
Balduino launched himself into the sector at the time at the forefront of railway construction: in this field the continental European market was disputed between the two great French banks, the Rothschilds and the Pereires. In Italy the Rothschilds had won the most important concessions. Against the hegemony of the Rothschilds the Livorno banker Pietro Bastogi founded the Italian Society for Southern Railways and won the concession of the Adriatic line. Balduino sided with Bastogi buying a large share of the Meridionals. Probably behind the Bastogi was the Crédit Mobilier of the Pereire brothers.
From the further restructuring of the Cassa of Commerce and Industry of Turin, the Mobil Credit was born in 1863.
Credito Mobiliare was founded in 1863, after the Unification of Italy, to give the new state a bank that financed the creation of a modern industrial and entrepreneurial sector, based on the French Crédit Mobilier model. And the owners of the latter bank, the Pereire brothers, were among the founding members of the Italian Credito Mobiliare. The institution was immediately listed on the stock exchange.
Initially the Bank's main activity, like that of the smaller commercial banks, was to collect deposits, make advances and discount the routes that were presented by bankers and small local banks or major companies. However, in 1866 there was a bank run that led to the withdrawal of 70% of the deposits: only the intervention of Crédit Mobilier and the National Bank in the Kingdom of Bombrini saved the Credit Mobiliar.
Balduino realized he could not rely on deposits and decided to change the bank's approach and to operate on the sale of shares and bonds and in particular on the placement of new issues. In other words, he decided not to work with the capital of the account holders, but with those of the shareholders , as an investment bank. Since, however, in Italy there were not many subjects willing to put capital at the disposal of an investment bank, Balduino failed to raise a large capital.
In any case, Credito Mobiliare became the reference bank of some important nineteenth-century Italian companies: it was a mixed bank which, in addition to granting loans to companies, often held shares, even significant ones. First of all it continued to be the reference shareholder of the Southern Ferrate roads, in the construction of the Adriatic railway. Secondly, together with the National Bank and the General Bank, Balduino's bank controlled the Terni steelworks, then the largest Italian steel industry.
Always together with the National Bank, Credito Mobiliare financed the Genoese shipowner Raffaele Rubattino, and took care of the merger of the shipping company with the Florio Fleets to create the Italian General Navigation (Joined Florio and Rubattino). Credito Mobiliare held one fifth of the capital of the new company.
The Credito Mobiliare was also the reference bank of the sugar sector, then very important. Finally, the credit institution financed some important real estate transactions such as the Company for the Sanitation of Naples and the General Real Estate Company.
It was precisely from the investments in the building sector that the credit crisis began. Meanwhile, after Balduino's death, the bank's guide was taken over by Giacinto Frascara. Realizing the financial situation of the institution, the new director decided to offset the capital tied up in building operations with the purchase of deposit banks, tax collection offices, and agricultural credit institutions. In this field, in particular, it financed the first Italian canning industry, Cirio.
All this failed, however, to save the bank, which went into liquidation in 1894. The burden of settling the losses left by the institution was taken by the National Bank and then passed to the Bank of Italy.