U.S. Bank celebrates 160 years

July 11, 2023
The bank's charter dates back to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was President.

The bank’s current operating charter was signed in Cincinnati in 1863

On July 13, 1863, The First National Bank of Cincinnati opened with the boom of Civil War cannons firing just across the Ohio River, and survived through the decades to eventually grow into U.S Bank.

Banking, and the United States, looked very different 160 years ago. Much of the west was still a frontier, and nearly half of the markets in the current footprint of U.S. Bank weren’t even states. Handwritten logbooks, telegraph ciphers and custom-printed currency were part of daily work.

While much as changed, U.S. Bank still operates by the words written in national bank charter No. 24, “The capital of a bank should be a reality, not a fiction ... Let no loans be made that are not secured beyond a reasonable contingency ... Pursue a straightforward, upright banking business.”

At left, the United States National Bank of Portland opened its doors in 1891, two decades before a federal law prohibited any new banks from using "United States" in their names going forward. Top right, a plaque commemorating that our branch in Telluride, Colorado, was the first bank to be robbed by famed outlaw Butch Cassidy in 1889. Bottom right, a 1917 Liberty Bond sold by U.S. Bank to support the war effort in WWI.

Today, more than 80 percent of banking transactions at U.S. Bank take place digitally, as opposed to within a branch, and U.S. Bank has diversified its business to include payments services, wealth management and investment services, in addition to consumer banking and corporate and commercial banking.

Last year, U.S. Bancorp completed the acquisition of MUFG Union Bank, giving U.S. Bank more than 1 million new consumer customers and about 190,000 additional small business customers on the West Coast in addition to approximately $58 billion in loans and $90 billion in deposits.

Learn more about the history of U.S. Bank, including the celebration of the bank’s 150th anniversary in 2013 that included ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

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