Even if you don’t hold an account or credit card product with U.S. Bank, chances are that you’ve heard about them. U.S. Bank – owned by parent company, U.S. Bancorp -- is a trusted name in financial services. It is currently the 5th largest commercial banking entity in the country, in fact, providing banking, trust, investment, mortgage, and payment services to customers in the Midwest and across the United States.
The company was founded in 1990 as a high-end banking service. It is based out of Minneapolis, but has over 3,100 offices and 5,000 ATMs across 25 total states. As of 2017, U.S. Bank is worth $446 billion in assets, and it is successfully run by CEO Richard K. Davis.
However, the company that is U.S. Bank today looks very different from when it was first founded. Over the years, there have been countless acquisitions, mergers, and name changes, all of which have served to alter the dynamic of the banking company as a whole.
As mentioned, U.S. Bank was loosely founded in the 1990s, through a number of major acquisitions of Midwestern regional banks. However, the company has a history that dates all the way back to 1863.
U.S. Bancorp, their parent company, was officially established in 1968. It still operates today under the second-oldest continuous national charter, granted by the passage of the National Bank Act. Originally, the bank’s charter was #24. Over the years, though, earlier charters have either expired or banks have closed/been acquired.
As a result, the charter held by U.S. Bancorp has risen to #2. Fun fact: the only bank operating under an older charter is Wells Fargo, which holds charter #1 (originally given to the First National Bank of Philadephia). Wells Fargo acquired this charter when they merged with Wachovia.
Throughout the last few decades, U.S. Bank has acquired or merged with more than 50 different companies. Many of these were smaller, regional banks across the country – though, primarily in the Midwest – which has ensured that the U.S. Bank melting pot has been an ever-evolving entity.
Let’s take a look at the history of the bank in the form of a timeline, and how U.S. Bank got to be the powerhouse that it is today.
1853: Farmers and Millers Bank in Milwaukee opens its doors, eventually becoming Firstar
1855: State Savings Institution opens its doors in St. Louis
1863: The National Bank Act grants Charter #24 to First National Bank of Cincinatti
1864: First National Bank of St. Paul is chartered
1865: First National Bank of Minneapolis is chartered
1891: United States National Bank of Portland is chartered
1899: State Savings Institution becomes Mercantile Trust Company
1902: United States National Bank of Portland merges with Ainsworth National Bank of Portland; retains the U.S. National Bank name
1913: Federal law prohibits any new banks from using “United States” in their names
1929: First National Bank of Minneapolis and First National Bank of St. Paul combine to form First Bank Stock Corporation
1969: U.S. Bancorp of Oregon becomes official holding company for the U.S. National Bank of Oregon
1968: First Bank Stock Corporation changes its name to First Bank System
1986-1996: U.S. Bancorp of Oregon acquires a total of 16 banks and their subsidiaries
1988: First National Bank of Cincinatti becomes Star Banc Corporation
1997: First Bank System buys U.S. Bancorp of Oregon; the new company is named U.S Bancorp
1997-2000: The new U.S. Bancorp acquires at least six more banks and their subsidiaries
1998: Firstar and Star Banc merge in $7.2B deal; new company is called Firstar Corp
1999: Firstar Corp buys Mercantile in $10.6B merger
2000: Firstar Corp acquires U.S. Bancorp for $21B in stock; new company retains the name U.S. Bancorp
2001-2013: U.S. Bancorp acquires at least 15 more banks and their subsidiaries
As you can see, the powerhouse that is U.S. Bank has deep roots in this country’s banking history. It has acquired and merged its way to the top, buying out its smaller or failing competitors one by one.
Thanks to its merger with Firstar (who merged with Star Banc years earlier), U.S. Bancorp still operates under Charter #24 from 1863. As mentioned, this is now the second-oldest operating charter in the country, making U.S. Bank one of the oldest, most trusted, and most historically sound banks in our nation.