The Bank of New York and it's History
On February 23, 1784, a small advertisement appeared in The New York Packet, one of the many New York newspapers of that era. This advertisement announced that prominent New York citizens had established a bank. The bank, established by the prominent, would not officially open for business until June 9, 1784. That bank would come to be known as the bank of New York. Alexander Hamilton, a well-known New York attorney, was asked to write the constitution of the new bank. He complied and therefore Alexander Hamilton was credited with the founding of the Bank of New York. The Bank of New York is the oldest bank in New York and along with that is one of the oldest banks in the world since banking the way we know it today began in the 18th century.
Alexander Hamilton later went on to become the Secretary of the Treasury in President George Washington’s first cabinet. In 1789, Hamilton negotiated the first loan obtained by the new Democratic government. The amount of the loan was $200,000, and was issued by The Bank of New York. Hence, not only is the Bank of New York one of the oldest banks in the world, but it is also a historic one because it was the first bank in the United States to issue a loan. Adding to that historic feeling, when the New York Stock Exchange was created in 1792, the first stock traded was the Bank of New York's stock.
The Bank of New York played a major role in the economic growth in the New York metropolitan area. The Bank was also involved with the growth of transportation. The construction of the Morris Canal in New Jersey and the Erie Canal in New York were partially funded by the Bank, which also provided financing to the steamboat companies that benefited from these waterways. Through investments in nearly every railroad and utility, as well as in the construction of the New York City subway system, the Bank of New York continued to provide vital capital to the expanding American economy. However, far more emphasis was given to conservative practices and retaining the confidence of our customers. That policy enabled the bank to survive the economic turmoil of the early twentieth century.
Throughout its 200-year history, the Bank of New York has been involved in many mergers and acquisitions. Through mergers with the New York Life Insurance & Trust Company, The Fifth Avenue Bank, and the Empire Trust Company, the Bank expanded its presence in New York and its ability to provide financial services to businesses and individuals throughout Manhattan. In 1969, through the establishment of a bank holding company, the Bank expanded beyond New York City, establishing a suburban branch network that remains today.
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