Bank of Athens
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
There have been two banks with the name Bank of Athens, both headquartered in Athens, Greece and a third with the name "South African BANK OF ATHENS" a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece operating as its name suggests in South Africa. The first was founded in 1893 and operated in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean until the National Bank of Greece acquired it in 1953. The name disappeared a few years thereafter. The second Bank of Athens was founded in 1993 and merged into EFG Eurobank Ergasias in 1999.
First Bank of Athens (1894-1962)
In 1893 Ep. Empeirikos, Al. Lambrinoudis, A. Kallergis, M. Iordanopoulos, and N. Triantafyllidis founded the Bank of Athens with Greek, French, and English capital, and it apparently commenced operating in 1894. A key figure in the early bank was Jean (John) Pesmatzoglou, an Alexandrian private banker who merged his bank with Bank of Athens, became chairman in 1896, and formed an alliance with Banque de l'Union parisienne in 1904. Pesmatzoglou's bank became Bank of Athens's branch in Alexandria, Egypt, where there was a large community of Greeks. In 1895 the Bank established branches in London, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Khartoum in the Sudan. It established a second branch in the UK, at Manchester, in 1902.
In 1906, Bank of Athens acquired Industrial Credit Bank (Τράπεζα Επαγγελματικής Πίστεως; est. 1873 in Athens). It had opened a branch in Istanbul in 1905 and this transferred to Bank of Athens. Bank of Athens may also have had a branch in Smyrna. By 1910 Bank of Athens bank had added branches in Crete at Chania, Candia, and Rethymno, and Trebizond and Samsoun in the Ottoman Empire.
In 1921 Bank of Athens opened a representative office in New York, that it later converted to an agency. By 1922, the Bank of Athens had branches throughout Greece, as well as in Limassol and Nicosia in Cyprus, Alexandria, Cairo, and Port Said in Egypt, Galata, Stamboul and Pera in Constantinople, Adrianopolis in "the former Turkey in Europe", and London and Manchester in England. However, the next year, after the end of the Greco-Turkish War, the government of Turkey seized the Bank of Athens's branch in Constantinople. It is not clear whether the Bank of Athens had already closed its other branches in Constantinople, or the one in Adrianopolis, which had reverted to Turkish control, or whether the government seized these too.
In 1926, Bank of Athens converted its NY agency to a subsidiary, Bank of Athens Trust Company.
In 1930 National Bank of Greece and Bank of Athens combined their activities in Egypt into a joint subsidiary, Banque Nationale de Grèce et d’Athénes. (In 1960, Egypt nationalized the remaining foreign banks in the country; National Bank of Egypt took over Banque Nationale de Grèce et d’Athénes, together with a number of other banks.) The 1930s also saw the Bank of Athens operating branches in Korçë and Durrës in Albania. However, with the onset of World War II, Greece came under Axis control. During the Axis Occupation of Greece, Dresdner Bank assumed oversight of Bank of Athens.
After the war, in 1947 the Bank of Athens founded the South African Bank of Athens Limited to serve Hellenes residing in South Africa. Then in 1953, Bank of Athens merged with National Bank of Greece to form the National Bank of Greece and Athens. Later the name reverted to the National Bank of Greece. The two banks merged their NY subsidiaries to form Atlantic Bank of New York.
Since 1962 NBG has used the former headquarters of the Bank of Athens at Stadiou Street as its main public office. NBG then closed the banking facilities at its headquarters on Aiolou Street. The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki now occupies the Bank of Athens's former building in Salonika.
Second Bank of Athens (1992-1999)
In 1992 National Bank of Greece owned 75% of the Credit Bank of Professionals (Τράπεζα Επαγγελματικής Πίστεως), founded in 1906, when it sold 67% to Hanwha Bank (with Rabobank). The Bank was renamed to Bank of Athens. In 1998, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, a member of the Latsis Group, bought 58% of the Bank of Athens' common stock from Hanwha Bank and 51% of its preference shares from the National Bank of Greece. The next year EFG Eurobank Ergasias absorbed Bank of Athens, and also Bank of Crete.
- Gelina Harlaftis, 1996, A History of Greek Owned Shipping; The Making of an International Tramp Fleet, 1830 to the Present Day, (Routledge), p.133.
- Phillip L. Cottrell, 2008, "A Survey of European Investment in Turkey, 1859-1914; Banks and the Finance of the State and Railway Construction", in Philip A. Cottrell ed., and Iain L. Fraser and Monika Pohl Fraser, co-eds., East Meets West - Banking, Commerce and Investment in the Ottoman Empire, (Ashgate, for the European Association for Bank History).
- Necla Geyikdagi, V. (2011) Foreign Investment in the Ottoman Empire: International Trade and Relations 1854-1914, (I.B.Tauris); p.103.
- United States Bureau of Manufactures, United States Bureau of Foreign Commerce (1854-1903), Monthly Consular and Trade Reports, January 1910, no. 352, p. 189.
- International Banking Directory, 1922