Mergers Shaped Both Banks Since Early 1800s

The two banking titans that announced their merger agreement on Monday are themselves the products of numerous mergers and name changes traceable to the early 1800s, when there was no prohibition on industrial companies' owning banks.

Chemical Bank, the flagship of Chemical Banking Corp., began as a division of the New York Chemical Manufacturing Co. Formed in 1823, the Greenwich Village company produced blue vitriol, alum, camphor, saltpeter, borax, and other drugs and medicines. Company archives indicate the manufacturer's original 21-year charter was amended in 1824 to allow it to engage in general banking.

By 1832, all the manufacturing operations were dropped. And in 1844, when the corporate charter expired, the chemical business was disposed of and Chemical became a state-chartered bank.

Conversion to National Charter

On Aug. 1, 1865, the bank converted to a national charter and became known as Chemical National Bank of New York.

In May 1929, Chemical again became a state bank under the name Chemical Bank & Trust Co.

It became Chemical Corn Exchange Bank in October 1954 following the merger of Corn Exchange Bank Trust Co.

Chemical dropped "Corn Exchange" from its title in 1969. Chemical Banking Corp., the name of the parent holding company that will survive the Manufacturers Hanover merger, was changed from Chemical New York Corp. in 1988.

Manufacturers' Tale

Manufacturers Hanover has two immediate forebears - Manufacturers Trust Co. and the Hanover Bank - and each in turn was the product of a series of mergers.

Their story began in 1812 when the New York Manufacturing Co. set up shop. Its charter including the authority to conduct banking operations. Some five years later, Phenix Bank acquired the banking business of the manufacturing company and later merged with the Chatham Bank.

In September 1915, when the banks bought control of Century Bank with $14 million in deposits and 11 branches, the new institution became the fourth-largest state bank in New York City.

Another important bank in Hanover's family tree is Manufacturers National Bank, which began in Brooklyn in 1853. It was combined with the Citizens Trust Co. in 1914, and the name was changed to Manufacturers Trust Co. In turn, Manufacturers Trust merged with the Hanover Bank in 1961 to form Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.