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The Story of JP Morgan Chase & Co.

One of New York’s most awe-inspiring glass buildings is a premier destination for both corporate clients and professionals. A conspicuous and bold J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. stands head high on the building, which faces the metropolitan hub. On entering the company headquarters, what strikes one the most is a magnificent black-and-white canvas put across the lobby. The photograph is dominated by J.P. Morgan, the eponym of one of the most eminent and established global Investment Bank and Financial Services providers.


J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., formerly known as J.P. Morgan and Company Inc., was formed by the merger of two of the world’s premier financial brands: J.P. Morgan & Co. and The Chase Manhattan Corporation in December, 2000. A component of Dow Jones Industrial Average, the company serves millions of customers including the most eminent government, corporate and institutional clients. The leading American multinational is built on a strong foundation of more than a thousand predecessor companies, including many well- know heritage banks such as Bank One, The Chase Manhattan Bank, National Bank of Detroit among several others that contributed to innovations in finance and growth of the world economies.

The Corporate’s Chronicles

Commercial banking in the United States began immediately after the Revolutionary War, in 1783. The earliest American banks played a pivotal role in the nation’s economic and industrial growth by lending money, safeguarding deposits and issuing bank notes to be used as currency. In 1784, the Bank of New York- founded by Alexander Hamilton, who became George Washington’s Treasury Secretary- became the first commercial bank in the United States. The bank stood without any competition until 1799, when Hamilton’s political rival Aaron Burr, a U.S. Senator and future Vice President of the country, founded the Bank of Manhattan Co. JPMorgan Chase traces its origin to this dawning institution.

The Bank of Manhattan Co. started on an unusual note. The company was established by a group of New Yorkers, including Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. It was chartered by the New York State Legislature to supply pure and wholesome drinking water to the city’s burgeoning population. A provision in the charter permitted the firm to employ its excess capital for banking operations. Within five months, The Bank of Manhattan became the second-largest commercial bank, breaking the banking monopoly of Bank of New York and leading to severed ties with Hamilton. By 1842, the Manhattan Co. outlived the waterworks and became the state’s premier banking institution- lending money, underwriting bonds and funding projects such as the Erie Canal in 1825. This was followed by several pan country mergers with banking institutions such as the Bank of Metropolis, Merchants National Bank among numerous others, which helped the bank expand, diversify and orient its financial operations.

Another key predecessor institution of JPMorgan Chase was The Chase National Bank, organized in 1877 by John Thompson. Chase witnessed phenomenal growth in the banking sector and this was facilitated by proliferation of branches and extensive foreign affiliations through more than a dozen integrations with smaller subordinate banks. Subsequently, Chase went on to become the nation’s third largest bank and a major business player in the sector, after an exponential growth trajectory.

On March 1955, the Chase National Bank and The Bank of Manhattan Co. amalgamated to form the Chase Manhattan Bank. The new institution incorporated Chase’s strength in international, corporate, and correspondent banking with The Bank of Manhattan Co.’s network of branches and retail banking expertise.

The Morgan branch of the corporation traces its origin to J.P. Morgan and Company, Inc. and Guaranty Trust Company of New York, two companies which consolidated in 1959 to form the Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. J.P. Morgan and Co. was established in 1871 by bankers J. Pierpoint Morgan and Anthony Drexel. The new merchant banking partnership served initially as an agent for Europeans investing in the United States, ultimately raising much of the capital to support American industrial expansion. Through perseverant and consistent efforts, the company was able to assist its clientele and stock exchanges into sailing through tough financial crises concerning the railroad networks and gold standards. Consequently, J. Pierpoint Morgan set himself as one of history’s most influential and powerful bankers, personally intervening in business disputes and orchestrating solutions during economic crises. By the end of the 20th Century, the establishment became a leading underwriter of corporate debt and one of the most revered investment banking houses.

In the year 2000, J.P. Morgan Co. underwent a merger with Chase Manhattan Corporation, in effect combining four of the largest and oldest money center banking institutions in the New York city into one firm called the JPMorgan Chase & Co. This was further accompanied by an integration with Bank One Corporation in 2004, keeping the original name intact. The mergers were lauded by investment analysts who believed that they would ‘realign the competitive landscape for banks’ by uniting the investment and commercial banking skills and consumer banking strengths.

The Times Today

Since its inception almost two centuries ago, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has consolidated its position as a leading player in the financial sector. Armed with a global presence in more than 50 countries, the company is a key star renowned for providing professional services in the field of investment banking, commercial banking, asset management, cards, treasury & security and retail finance.

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Author: Alisha Gragya (

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