Bank of the Manhattan Company
The Bank of the Manhattan Company (established 1799) is the earliest of the predecessor institutions that eventually formed the current JPMorgan Chase & Co.


As background, the first corporate bank in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, organized by Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

 in 1784, was chartered in 1792 as the Bank of New York
Bank of New York
The Bank of New York was a global financial services company established in 1784 by the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It existed until its merger with the Mellon Financial Corporation on July 2, 2007...

. This bank and the federal bank monopolized the banking industry in the city and state until opposition led by Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

 successfully fought for banking privileges through a clause in a charter for his Manhattan Company, which was established ostensibly to supply much-needed pure water to the City of New York.

On April 17, 1799, the Manhattan Company appointed a committee "to consider the most proper means of employing the capital of the Company" and elected to open an office of discount and deposit. The "Bank" of the Manhattan Company began business on September 1, 1799, in a house at 40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper in New York City. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank and today is known as the...

. In 1808 the company sold its waterworks to the city and turned completely to banking. Even so, it identified as a water company as late as 1899. The Company maintained a Water Committee which yearly assured, quite truthfully, that no requests for water service had been denied, and moreover conducted its meetings with a pitcher of the water at hand to ensure quality. It is unclear whether anyone at these meetings actually tasted the water.

The Bank started paying dividends in July 1800, and in 1853 the Manhattan Company became one of the original 52 members of the New York Clearing House
New York Clearing House
The New York Clearing House Association, the nation’s first and largest bank clearing house, was created in 1853, and has played a variety of important roles in supporting the development of the banking system in America’s financial capital. Initially, it was created to simplify the chaotic...

 Association. In 1923 it moved its headquarters to the Prudence Building
Prudence Building
The Prudence Building or Prudence Bonds Building was a fourteen story edifice at the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street. It was the headquarters of the Prudence Bonds Corporation, opening in October 1923. Stores on the street level were leased toaffluent shops...

. A 1929 merger made Paul Warburg
Paul Warburg
Paul Moritz Warburg was a German-born American banker and early advocate of the U.S. Federal Reserve system.- Early life :...

 its chairman. The Bank merged with Chase National Bank in 1955 to become Chase Manhattan, and then was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1996, who retained the Chase name, to form what was then the largest bank holding company in the United States. In December 2000, the bank acquired J.P. Morgan & Co. to form JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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