5 Oldest Banking Institutions in US Still in Business

Author: BankFeeInsider.com     Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:00 AM

Banking as an institution is almost as old as the United States itself. Only eight years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, the first bank opened its doors in the financial capital of the US—New York City. Here is a history of the first five banks in the US.

Bank of New York

In 1784 the first bank in the US opened—the Bank of New York. It was founded by one of the Founding Fathers—Alexander Hamilton—who established the bank in addition to the nation's financial system. As a result, when the New York Stock Exchange began in 1792, the Bank of New York earned its place as the first company that ever traded via the Exchange. As of 2006 the bank has merged with Mellon Financial Corporation so to become the largest securities asset management and servicing firm on the planet.

State Street Corporation

During the year the New York Stock Exchange opened, State Street Corporation aka State Street became the second banking institution established in the US. However, State Street took its roots in Boston rather than New York City. By 1924 the bank made its mark in the industry by being the first custodian for the first mutual fund in the US.

Brown Brothers Harriman and Co.

The oldest private bank, as well as largest, in the US is Brown Brothers Harriman and Co. Founded in 1810 as a securities firm and investment bank, the company is quite a popular one among politicians. Some of the most prominent political leaders who have worked at Brown Brothers Harriman include George H. W. Bush, Richard W. Fisher, Alan Greenspan and Robert A. Lovett.


Perhaps the most popular banking institute on this list is Citibank. Established in 1812 under the name City Bank of New York, it would also be known as First National City Bank of New York before taking its current title. It was heavily affected by the financial meltdown of 2008-2009. As a result, the bank was bailed out by the US government with $50 billion in aid, in addition to guarantees on assets accounting for $306 billion. Those loans have since been paid in full by Citibank and the company remains as the third largest bank in the nation.

JPMorgan Chase and Co.

The youngest bank of this group, JPMorgan Chase was started in 1824. Today it is the largest bank in the US with $2.415 trillion in assets. Forbes magazine notes that JPMorgan ranks as third largest public company on a global scale. However, when the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme came to light, it was revealed that JPMorgan Chase was Madoff's primary bank and thereby associated with his investment advisory business and assets. As of 2014, JPMorgan Chase has settled in criminal and civil courts to a tune of $2.05 billion in penalties for its association in the financially devastating situation.

Source: BFI