Largest Banks in the World Citicorp and Citibank Part 1

About one of the largest banks in the world Citicorp and Citibank, history and founding, size and growth.

BEHIND THE TELLER'S WINDOW--THE BIG BANKS

Citicorp

Birth and Growth: Citicorp is the holding corporation for Citibank, which was formed by the merger of the National City Bank of New York (formerly City Bank of New York) and the First National Bank of New York.

The City Bank of New York was organized two days before the start of the War of 1812. This was the period in U.S. history between the end of the first Bank of the United States and the start of the second Bank of the United States.

Since it lacked a central bank, the U.S. government relied on private banks to finance its participation in the War of 1812, and City Bank's first loan was $500,000 for that purpose.

In 1865 City Bank was chartered as the National City Bank of New York under the recently passed National Bank Act.

One of the early investors in the newly chartered bank was William Rockefeller, who was John D. Rockefeller's younger brother and a cofounder of Standard Oil. Rockefeller was the chief backer of James Stillman, who became president of National City in 1891. National City became known as the "Standard Oil bank."

In 1899 the bank bought the New York Custom House from the U.S. government to use as its headquarters. The price was $3 million, which was to be used for a new custom house. As part of the purchase agreement, the government continued to occupy the old building until the new one was ready. National City occupied its new headquarters in 1908.

The bank opened its first foreign branch in Argentina in 1914, and acquired a large number of banks in the U.S. in the 1920s, including the Farmer's Loan and Trust Company, which it took over on June 30, 1929.

The First National Bank was chartered in 1863 by brokers, with the help of George F. Baker, Sr., a clerk in New York's State Banking Dept. The bank became the country's largest underwriter of government bonds, and for a while it was also the largest underwriter of corporate bonds.

Until the 1930s depression, First National would accept no account under $200,000. At the time it merged with National City in 1955, it was still considered a "bankers' bank" that had large corporate accounts (none less than $100,000) and no branches.

On Mar. 30, 1955, National City bought First National for $165 million. At the time of the merger, the bank's name was changed to the First National City Bank of New York. The corporation was reorganized in 1968 to form a one-bank holding company, with the bank as its principal asset. On Mar. 1, 1976, the bank adopted the name Citibank, and the holding company adopted the name Citicorp.

Size Today: Citicorp is the second-largest commercial banking company in the world in terms of assets, and the largest bank in the world in terms of net income. It has the largest equity capital of any privately owned bank in the world. The company has over 2,000 offices in over 100 countries.

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