Oriental Bank Corporation

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The New Oriental Bank and Share Market, Bombay

The Oriental Bank Corporation (Chinese: 東藩滙理銀行) was a bank in India in the 19th century. It was also the first bank in Hong Kong and the first bank to issue banknotes in Hong Kong.[1][2]

History[edit]

The bank was established in 1842 in Bombay, India, under the name Bank of Western India. After the headquarters were moved to London in 1845, the name was changed to the Oriental Bank Corporation. It was chartered in 1851 to allow competition with the East India Company's opium billing monopoly, which was unpopular in England at the time. Expansion followed with branches opening in Chinese treaty ports, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Mauritius and South Africa.

In the 1860s, the bank held a dominant position in India and China. Its finances suffered greatly from the legendary coffee disease in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), which devastated the coffee plantations in that area, where the company had invested heavily. In 1884, the bank encountered severe difficulties and was reconstituted as the New Oriental Bank Corporation. With growing competition from rivals, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, the bank failed to survive and closed in 1892. An early victim of the impending trouble of 1893.[3][4][5]

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