Current logo since 2005.
|Type||Subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase|
|Founded||September 1, 1799, as Bank of the Manhattan Company|
|Headquarters||Chase Tower, Chicago, Illinois|
|Key people||William C. Weldon
|Revenue||$58.716 billion (2009)|
|Net income||$857 million (2009)|
|Divisions||Retail Financial Services, Card Services, Commercial Banking|
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., doing business as Chase, is a national bank that constitutes the consumer and commercial banking subsidiary of the multinational banking corporation JPMorgan Chase. The bank was known as Chase Manhattan Bank until it merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000. Chase Manhattan Bank was formed by the merger of the Chase National Bank and the Bank of the Manhattan Company in 1955. The bank is headquartered in Chicago, since its merger with Bank One Corporation in 2004. In 2008, the bank acquired the deposits and most assets of Washington Mutual.
Chase offers more than 5,100 branches and 16,100 ATMs nationwide. JPMorgan Chase has 260,965 employees (as of 2012) and operates in more than 85 countries. JPMorgan Chase currently has assets of approximately $2.509 trillion. British magazine The Banker rated Chase as world's best bank in 2009-10.
From September 1, 1799 to 1877, it was called The Bank of the Manhattan, New York Company; from 1877 to 1954, it was called Chase National Bank; and from 1955 to 1976, it was called The Chase Manhattan Bank.
The Manhattan Company
After an epidemic of yellow fever in 1798, during which coffins had been sold by itinerant vendors on street corners, Aaron Burr established the Manhattan Company, with the ostensible aim of bringing clean water to the city from the Bronx River but in fact designed as a front for the creation of New York's second bank, rivaling Alexander Hamilton's Bank of New York.
Over two centuries after Burr and Hamilton's now-infamous duel that claimed Hamilton's life, it can be said that the Bank of the Manhattan Company ultimately won the "business" side of the rivalry. In 2006, the modern-day Chase bought the retail banking division of the Bank of New York, which then only months later merged with Pittsburgh-based Mellon Financial to form the present-day BNY Mellon.
Chase National Bank
Chase National Bank was formed in 1877 by John Thompson. It was named after former United States Treasury Secretary and Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, although Chase did not have a connection with the bank.
The Chase National Bank acquired a number of smaller banks in the 1920s, through its Chase Securities Corporation. In 1926, for instance, it acquired Mechanics and Metals National Bank.
However, its most significant acquisition was the Equitable Trust Company of New York in 1930, the largest stockholder of which was John D. Rockefeller, Jr. This made Chase the largest bank in America and indeed, in the world.
Chase was primarily a wholesale bank, dealing with other prominent financial institutions and major corporate clients, such as General Electric, which had, through its RCA subsidiary, leased prominent space and become a crucial first tenant of Rockefeller Center, rescuing that major project in 1930. The bank is also closely associated with and has financed the oil industry, having longstanding connections with its board of directors to the successor companies of Standard Oil, especially ExxonMobil, which are also Rockefeller holdings.
Merger as Chase Manhattan Bank
In 1955, Chase National Bank and The Manhattan Company merged to create The Chase Manhattan Bank. As Chase was a much larger bank, it was first intended that Chase acquire the "Bank of Manhattan", as it was nicknamed, but it transpired that Burr's original charter for the Manhattan Company had not only included the clause allowing it to start a bank with surplus funds, but another requiring unanimous consent of shareholders for the bank to be taken over. The deal was therefore structured as an acquisition by the Bank of the Manhattan Company of Chase National, with John J. McCloy becoming chairman of the merged entity. This avoided the need for unanimous consent by shareholders.
For Chase Manhattan Bank's new logo, Chermayeff & Geismar designed a stylized octagon in 1961, which remains part of the bank's logo today. The Chase logo is a stylized representation of the primitive water pipes laid by the Manhattan Company, which were made by nailing together wooden planks.
Under McCloy's successor, George Champion, the bank relinquished its antiquated 1799 state charter for a modern one. In 1969, under the leadership of David Rockefeller, the bank became part of a bank holding company, the Chase Manhattan Corporation.
Merger with Chemical, J.P. Morgan
In July 1996, Chemical Bank of New York purchased Chase Manhattan Bank. Chemical's previous acquisitions included Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, in 1991, and Texas Commerce Bank, in 1987. Although Chemical was the nominal survivor, the merged company retained the Chase name since it was better known (particularly outside the United States).
In December 2000, the combined Chase Manhattan completed the acquisition of J.P. Morgan & Co. in one of the largest banking mergers to date. The combined company was renamed JPMorgan Chase. In 2004, the bank acquired Bank One, making Chase the largest credit card issuer in the United States. JPMorgan Chase added Bear Stearns & Co. and Washington Mutual to its acquisitions in 2009. After closing nearly 400 overlapping branches of the combined company, less than 10% of its total, Chase will have approximately 5,410 branches in 23 states as of the closing date of the acquisition. According to data from SNL Financial (data as of June 30, 2008), this places Chase third behind Wells Fargo and Bank of America in terms of total U.S. retail bank branches. In October 2010, Chase was named in two lawsuits alleging manipulation of the silver market. The suits allege that by managing giant positions in silver futures and options, the banks influenced the prices of silver on the New York Stock Exchange's Comex Exchange since early 2008.
The following is an illustration of the company's major mergers and acquisitions and historical predecessors to 1995 (this is not a comprehensive list):
|Chase Manhattan Bank
Bank One Corporation
In 2004, JPMorgan Chase merged with Chicago-based Bank One Corp., bringing on board its current chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon as president and COO and designating him as CEO William B. Harrison, Jr.'s successor. Dimon's pay was pegged at 90% of Harrison's. Dimon quickly made his influence felt by embarking on a cost-cutting strategy and replaced former JPMorgan Chase executives in key positions with Bank One executives—many of whom were with Dimon at Citigroup. Dimon became CEO in January 2006 and Chairman in December 2006 after Harrison's resignation.
Bank One Corporation was formed upon the 1998 merger between Banc One of Columbus, Ohio and First Chicago NBD. These two large banking companies were themselves created through the merger of many banks. JPMorgan Chase completed the acquisition of Bank One in Q3 2004. The merger between Bank One and JPMorgan Chase meant that corporate headquarters were now in New York City while the retail bank operations of Chase were consolidated in Chicago.
The following is an illustration of the Bank One's major mergers and acquisitions and historical predecessors (this is not a comprehensive list):
On September 25, 2008, JPMorgan Chase bought most banking operations of Washington Mutual from the receivership of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That night, the Office of Thrift Supervision, in what was by far the largest bank failure in American history, seized Washington Mutual Bank and placed it into receivership. The FDIC sold the bank's assets, secured debt obligations and deposits to JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA for $1.888 billion, which re-opened the bank the following day. As a result of the takeover, Washington Mutual shareholders lost all their equity. Through the acquisition, JPMorgan became owner of the former accounts of Providian Financial, a credit card issuer WaMu acquired in 2005. The company completed rebranding of Washington Mutual branches to Chase in late 2009.
Other recent acquisitions
In the first-quarter of 2006, Chase purchased Collegiate Funding Services, a portfolio company of private equity firm Lightyear Capital, for $663 million. CFS was used as the foundation for the Chase Student Loans, previously known as Chase Education Finance.
In April of that same year (2006), Chase acquired the The Bank of New York Co.'s retail and small business banking network. This gave Chase access to 338 additional branches and 700,000 new customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Indiana.
Controversies during WWII
A press release from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in 2004 announced that many of the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files had become declassified. This declassification enabled the discovery that before and during the early years of World War II, the German government sold a special kind of Reichsmark, known as Rückwanderer [returnee] Marks, to American citizens of German descent. Chase National Bank, along with other businesses, were involved in these transactions. Through Chase, this allowed Nazi sympathizers to purchase Marks with dollars at a discounted rate. Specifically, "The financial houses understood that the German government paid the commissions (to its agents, including Chase) through the sale of discounted, blocked Marks that came mainly from Jews who had fled Germany." In other words, Nazi Germany was able to offer these Marks below face-value because they had been stolen from Émigrés fleeing the Nazi regime. Between 1936 and 1941, the Nazis amassed over $20 million, and the businesses enabling these transactions earned $1.2 million in commissions. Of these commissions, over $500,000 went to Chase National Bank and its subagents.
These facts were discovered when the FBI began its investigation in October 1940. The purpose of the investigation was to follow German-Americans who had bought the Marks. However, Chase National Bank’s executives were never federally prosecuted because Chase's lead attorney threatened to reveal FBI, Army, and Navy "sources and methods" in court. Publicly naming the sources and methods could have posed security risks and threatened future intelligence gathering. To avoid such revelations, the executives' violations of the Johnson Act, the Espionage Act, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act were never prosecuted.
Besides the controversial Rückwanderer Mark Scheme, NARA records also revealed another controversy during the occupation of France by the Nazis. From the late 1930s until June 14, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) issued an Executive Order freezing German assets, Chase National Bank worked with the Nazi government. The order blocking any access to French accounts in the U.S. by anyone, but especially by the Nazis was issued by Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., with the approval of FDR. Unfortunately, within hours of the order, Chase unblocked the accounts and the funds were transferred through South America to Nazi Germany.
US Treasury officials wanted an investigation of French subsidiaries of American banks, such as Chase Bank, J.P. Morgan & Co, National City Corporation, Guaranty Bank, Bankers Trust, and American Express. Of these banks, only Chase and Morgan remained open in France during the Nazi occupation. The Chase branch chief in Paris, France, Carlos Niedermann, told his supervisor in New York that there had been an "expansion of deposits". Also, Niedermann was, "very vigorous in enforcing restrictions against Jewish property, even going so far as to refuse to release funds belonging to Jews in anticipation that a decree with retroactive provisions prohibiting such release might be published in the near future by the occupying Nazi authorities".
In 1998, Chase general counsel William McDavid, said that Chase did not have control over Niedermann. Whether that claim was true or not, Chase Manhattan Bank acknowledged seizing about 100 accounts during the Vichy regime. Kenneth McCallion, an attorney, led a lawsuit against Barclays Bank for the illegal seizure of assets during WWII and has since turned his attention toward Chase. The World Jewish Congress (WJC), entered into discussions with Chase and a spokesperson for the WJC said, "Nobody at Chase today is guilty. They were not involved in whatever happened, but they do accept that they have an institutional responsibility." A Chase spokesman said, "This is a moral issue that we take very seriously." Chase general counsel McDavid added, "that Chase intends to compensate Jewish account holders whose assets were illegally plundered". In 1999, the French government formed a commission to report findings to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. Claire Andrieu, a commission member and history professor at the Sorbonne, said that under the Vichy regime, French banks received visits from Nazi officials but U.S. banks did not. At that time, they did not have to report Jewish accounts, but they did just as the French banks did. She goes on to say that an American ambassador protected the U.S. subsidiaries.  
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chase (bank).|
- Official website
- Chase mobile banking
- An Evolutionary View of Internationalization: Chase Manhattan Bank, 1917 to 1996. A Financial Institutions Center study (PDF) completed in 2002.