The Mitsubishi Bank, Ltd. (株式会社三菱銀行 Kabushiki gaisha Mitsubishi Ginkō) was a major Japanese bank that served as the main bank for the Mitsubishi conglomerate/keiretsu. It merged with The Bank of Tokyo in 1996 to form The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (now The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ or "BTMU").
The bank's operations date to 1880, when Mitsubishi group founder Yataro Iwasaki established the Mitsubishi Exchange House (三菱為替店 Mitsubishi Kawaseten) in Tokyo. Mitsubishi acquired the business of the Tokyo, Oita and Hakodate-based 119th National Bank in 1885, and spun this business off to an independent Mitsubishi Bank in 1919. The bank opened branches in London and New York in 1920. During World War II, it was a financier of Japanese interests in Manchuria through its branch in Dalian, opened in 1933.
In 1948, the Mitsubishi conglomerate was dismantled and the bank was renamed Chiyoda Bank (千代田銀行 Chiyoda Ginkō) after the district of the same name in Tokyo. The bank reverted to the Mitsubishi name in 1953 and re-opened its London and New York offices. It became a major financier of the regrouped Mitsubishi keiretsu in the following years.
Mitsubishi and Dai-Ichi Bank, Japan's oldest bank, began preparations for a merger in 1969, which would have led to a major regrouping in the bank-led keiretsu system of the era. The plan met opposition among Dai-Ichi's management and its customers in the Furukawa and Kawasaki groups, who feared that Mitsubishi would dominate the combined bank and that their businesses would be absorbed by the relatively strong Mitsubishi group. As a result, the merger was called off. Two years later, Dai-Ichi merged with Nippon Kangyo Bank to form Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank (now part of Mizuho Bank).
Mitsubishi was known as a very conservative lender and was one of the few Japanese banks to emerge from the Japanese asset price bubble relatively unscathed. It acquired the Nippon Trust Bank in 1994. In 1996, it combined with The Bank of Tokyo to form The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (now The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ).
In addition to its home country of Japan, Mitsubishi was also active in California, where it began banking operations in 1972 through Mitsubishi Bank of California. Mitsubishi acquired Bank of California in 1984, which later merged with Bank of Tokyo-controlled Union Bank to form what is now known as MUFG Union Bank.
- "The Origins of Our Bank". Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. History". International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 15. St. James Press, 1996. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- Sato, Kazuo (18 October 2010). The Anatomy of Japanese Business. Routledge. p. 156. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Union Bank's History". MUFG Union Bank. Retrieved 10 April 2015.