Isaac Mallet (1684-1779)

Isaac Mallet was the descendant of a French protestant who had taken refuge in Geneva ; he founded the bank Mallet Frères et Cie, which remained a family bank for the next 250 years.

He founded a bank which was much used by businessmen

  • Isaac Mallet (1684-1779) portrayed by Prudhomme © Collection privée

Isaac Mallet was the descendant of Jacques Mallet (1530 – 1598), a protestant from Rouen who had taken refuge in Geneva in 1557 in order to escape from religious persecution – he became a bourgeois of the town in 1566. Isaac’s father owned a hat shop in Geneva.

Isaac was born in 1684 and settled in Paris in 1711 – he worked for his father, Gédéon Mallet, who held valuable security for the royal French treasury.

In 1713, he entered into partnership with his cousin Antoine de la Rive – together they founded the firm which was later to become “Mallet Frères et Cie” in Paris.

In 1718, out of prudence, Isaac broke off with his partner because he did not want to be mixed up with the speculative frenzy of Law’s system ; instead, he preferred to remain a broker.

In 1721, the bank took on the name of “Isaac Mallet et Cie”, then “Dufour et Mallet”.

because Isaac had taken on his step-brother Robert Dufour as a partner. The bank’s customers were businesses, banks and also some individual customers living in Geneva or Berne.

In 1734 Isaac became a member of the Council of the Two Hundred in Geneva and he gradually took a less active part in the firm, leaving it in the hands of Robert Dufour. However, in 1750 he enabled his son to work for the bank which then became “Robert Dufour, Mallet et Cie”.

Isaac and his wife, Françoise Dufour, had six children. Out of those who were born in France, one was christened in his parents’ house, the others in the Dutch or English Embassy churches.

Isaac died in 1779 at the age of 94.


  • Books
    • CHOISY Albert, Notice généalogique et historique sur la famille Mallet de Genève, Imprimerie Atar, Genève, 1930
    • Collectif, Mallet Frères et Cie – 250 ans de banque, 1713-1963, Presses de Jean Ruchert, Paris, 1963
    • GRAND Christian, Trois siècles de banque de Neuflize, Schlumberger, Mallet 1667-1991, EPA, Paris, 1991

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