Converting Wealth into Capital: Bank Savings Accounts, National Savings Movement, and the<i> Kumbara</i> (1929-1938)




The National Economy gained prominence as a dominating political and economic discourse after 1908. The National Economy was not merely a political project; it possessed significant economic and social dimensions as well. As an integral component of Muslim/Turkish nationalism, the National Economy had a social base. Historiography has often posited the National Economy as an endeavor to establish a national bourgeoisie. In contrast, the National Economy was also a demand of the emerging Muslim/Turkish bourgeoisie. A primary aspiration of this class was the establishment of a credit institution. Consequently, and not coincidentally, this class spearheaded the establishment of local banks. There was a need to mobilize a campaign to gather deposits in support of the National Banking. The necessity of converting savings and wealth into bank capital for the bourgeoisie led to the Savings Movement and the advent of the money box, kumbara. Promoting the use of local products and Savings Movement paved the way for a drastic increase in savings accounts, accumulated in banks. Consequently, national banks surpassed foreign banks in terms of deposits and the wealth in the hands of the public also turned into bank capital and was made available as credit to the Muslim/Turkish bourgeoisie.