The history of JPMorgan Chase is a long and distinguished one. With roots dating back to 1799, this banking behemoth holds a place in U.S. history very few companies can claim.
As with nearly all large financial institutions, JPMorgan Chase is a combination of many different merged and acquired banks. More than 1,200 predecessor financial institutions make up the company we now know as JPMorgan Chase.
The largest and oldest of the heritage companies within the organization include J.P. Morgan and Co., Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, and Manufacturers Hanover. Combined, the firm today is the largest in the U.S. and one of the 10 largest banks in the world, operating in more than 85 countries.
The origins of JPMorgan Chase extend to 1799, when it was called the Bank of The Manhattan Company. The founder of The Manhattan Company was Aaron Burr, who started the company in an effort to bring clean water to the growing borough of Manhattan. He created what was then New York’s second bank to fund his projects. This put him in competition with the Bank of New York, founded by Alexander Hamilton.
Mergers and consolidation
J.P. Morgan & Company was a financial empire that began with Junius S. Morgan in the mid-19th century and continued with his son J. Pierpont Morgan.
In 1895, after the death of Junius Morgan, J.P. Morgan took charge of the company and eventually grew it into one of the most powerful banking institutions in the world. Chase National Bank was founded in 1877 and was named for former U.S. Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase, although ironically there was no connection between him and the bank other than his name.
In 1955, the Bank of Manhattan purchased Chase National Bank and called this new institution the Chase Manhattan Bank. Manufacturers Hanover began as The Citizens Trust Company of Brooklyn in 1905. It quickly grew into one of New York’s largest banks by acquiring other smaller institutions. In 1961, they merged with Central Hanover Bank and Trust to form Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company.
The Chemical Bank of New York was established in 1824 and grew mostly as a lending institution for the growing industrial and agricultural businesses in America. It acquired other similar banks over time and eventually bought Manufacturers Hanover Trust in 1991, creating what was then the second largest bank in the U.S.
In 1996, Chemical Bank of New York merged with Chase Manhattan Bank. Although Chemical Bank was the larger institution, the combined company took the more well-known Chase Manhattan name. The combined entity became the largest bank in the U.S. In 2000, Chase Manhattan entered one of the largest banking mergers in history by acquiring J.P. Morgan & Company. This merger resulted in the company we now know as JPMorgan Chase.
The new JPMorgan Chase acquired Bank One Corporation in 2004, making it the largest issuer of credit cards. The company continued its growth with the acquisition of investment bank Bear Stearns during the financial crisis of 2008. They also bought the assets of Washington Mutual in 2008, after that bank went into federal receivership.
The modern JPMorgan Chase — most commonly just called Chase — is one of the two largest banks in the US, and one of the world's largest credit card issuers. Many of the most popular credit cards in the market are solely branded or co-branded by Chase, and its Ultimate Rewards® program consistently ranks as cardholder favorite.
In addition to credit cards, Chase provides banking services, asset management, commercial banking, transaction processing and investment banking through its global reach.
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About the Author
Brittney Mayer is a contributing editor for CardRates.com, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on websites such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, BadCredit.org, and CreditCards.com, among others. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.
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