The roots of our financial strength trace back to the Abraham Lincoln administration approving national bank charter No. 24 on July 13, 1863, which provided our predecessor First National Bank of Cincinnati its license to operate across the country. We still operate by the words written in our charter, “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.”
First National Bank of Minneapolis was founded, paving the way for our headquarters that are still located there today. Now, we have more than 11,000 employees in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and several prominent buildings, including our downtown Minneapolis headquarters at the U.S. Bancorp Center and nearby U.S. Bank Plaza.
A branch of our predecessor San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, Colorado became infamous when it was the first-ever bank robbed by notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy. As one of the oldest banks in the country we’ve had run-ins with a few unscrupulous figures, including Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger. These days, our cybersecurity center prevents countless threats each day using a combination of expert and artificial intelligence.
Our namesake United States National Bank of Portland opened its doors in Oregon. Timing would turn out to be favorable, as two decades later, a federal law prohibited other banks from using United States in their names from that time forward. Today, we’re the largest bank in Oregon, and our name is visible on stadiums, skyscrapers and more around the country.
Our predecessor Mississippi Valley Trust Company loaned $15,000 to help Charles Lindbergh finance his historic transatlantic flight. The St. Louis bank later became part of Mercantile Bancorporation, which we acquired in 1999. Today, we’re both the largest bank in Missouri and have relationships with many of the most recognizable names in the aerospace industry.
The sign atop the First National Bank Building was placed and became an icon in the skyline of St. Paul, Minnesota. While we no longer have employees located in that building, we continue to have significant operations nearby in St. Paul, and our headquarters at 800 Nicollet Mall are just 10 miles to the west across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
During the Great Depression, regulators allowed banks to limit the percentage of deposits that customers could withdraw from their accounts. First National Bank of Cincinnati, however, had the financial soundness to forgo implementing such a limit on our customers. Nearly a century later, that soundness remains – we’re among the highest-rated banks in the world and continue to perform well on stress tests performed by the Federal Reserve.
Part-time First Capital National Bank employee Nile Kinnick won the prestigious Heisman Trophy while playing football at the University of Iowa. For a time, he kept the iconic trophy at our branch for safekeeping. An autographed photo hangs today on the wall of our branch in downtown Iowa City.
As automobile sales boomed in the post-war era of the 1950s, we began opening drive-up branches across the country. More than half of a century later, drive-up banking was core to how we served socially distanced customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First National Bank of Minneapolis named Mary Ellen McLean its first goodwill ambassador, a position dedicated to addressing the needs of clients who identify as women. That focus continues today, as we’ve published leading research such as our Women and Wealth Insights Study and hosted the U.S. Bank Women and Wealth Summit. The work has been championed by our Wealth Management and Investment Services Vice Chair Gunjan Kedia, who was recently named to the 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance by Barron’s.
Our predecessor Bank of Sikeston in Missouri provided Sam Walton with a loan to open the first Walmart store outside of Arkansas. Today, helping companies expand remains central to our business, and we have relationships with approximately 90% of the Fortune 500.
We began adding automated teller machines, or ATMs, to our branches across the country. In recent years, we rolled out interactive teller machines, or ITMs, that have features like cashing checks and paying bills. We’ve also mobilized our ATMs to collect donations for relief efforts during natural disasters such as wildfires or hurricanes.
Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, most famous for designing the iconic twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, designed the current U.S. Bank tower in Denver.
Not long after our employees started using personal computers at home and not long before we rebranded to U.S. Bank, our predecessors entered the digital age with the introduction of online banking. Today, almost 80% of consumer transactions and more than 50% of loan sales happen digitally.
In the years surrounding the new millennium, a flurry of regional mergers and acquisitions laid the foundation for our company today. The decade brought together First Bank System (Minnesota), Star Banc Corporation (Ohio), Firstar Corporation (Wisconsin), Mercantile Bancorporation (Missouri), and our namesake U.S. Bancorp (based in Oregon at the time) under the U.S. Bank brand.
We celebrated the opening of our current headquarters building, U.S. Bancorp Center at 800 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Today, we’ve grown to 11,000 employees in Minnesota.
Also that year, we expanded to Europe with the acquisition of NOVA Corporation, which we would later rename Elavon in 2008. Today, Elavon is one of the largest payment processors in the world and has a few thousand employees in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland and other European countries.
Our logo rose to the top of the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, which at the time was the tallest building on the West Coast and since then has made appearances in numerous movies and television shows. We have more than 6,000 employees in California who’ve joined our team through a long history of acquisitions.
Our prudent approach to risk management led to us be the only bank among our peer group to remain profitable every quarter during the financial crisis and recession. We helped our customers navigate these challenging times and, as a result, we were able to keep growing. We drew on our position of strength to expand and gain market share, especially in sectors like corporate and commercial banking.
We tapped into our financial strength during the recession to make several acquisitions, including Illinois-based holding company FBOP. One of its banks had a substantial community development arm focused on the historic Pullman neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. For more than a decade since, we’ve continued that work by investing more than $100 million into the neighborhood and working with partners including The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Also that year, as smartphones were rapidly adopted, we launched our first iteration of the U.S. Bank Mobile App, which primarily allowed customers to check balances, view transactions and transfer funds. Today, we are focused on continually improving our award-winning app, which now includes a voice assistant, seamless digital account application experiences for most U.S. Bank consumer products, personalized insights, mobile check deposit and much more.
To give back to those who have served the United States, we launched a program to donate mortgage-free homes to veterans in need. To date, we’ve donated dozens of homes with a combined value of more than $4 million and have expanded the program to include home repair and vehicle donations.
That year, we also celebrated our 150th anniversary by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Our then CEO, Richard Davis, and current CEO, Andy Cecere, were joined by a group of long-tenured and active military or veteran employees.
For the first time in our history, we launched a national advertising campaign focused on our brand rather than specific products. With the tagline “the power of possible,” the campaign celebrated our role in helping customers achieve financial goals big and small.
Andy Cecere succeeded Richard Davis as our CEO. He joined our company more than three decades earlier in 1985 and helped engineer the mergers and acquisitions of the late 1990s and early 2000s before ascending into roles including chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
U.S. Bank Stadium®, located just blocks away from our headquarters building in Minneapolis, hosted Super Bowl LII. Shortly before kickoff, we ran a national TV spot on NBC featuring a rescue dog named Squirt whose family found the power of possible with U.S. Bank.
We celebrated the opening of our first-ever branch on the East Coast, located in Charlotte. In the branch, consumers can access self-service tools for routine transactions, demo digital tools and talk to bankers about their financial needs. As banking evolves, we are continually focused on both investing in digital tools and optimizing our branch operations.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we stood ready to help our customers, employees and communities including relief assistance for customers; instituting a premium pay program for front-line employees; expediting community giving programs; and other changes. We also helped obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans for more than 108,000 small businesses – with nearly 85% going to businesses that reported having 10 or fewer employees.
In June after the death of George Floyd, our headquarters market of Minneapolis was the epicenter of an international social justice movement. Acknowledging the role that the banking industry must play in reversing systemic economic and racial inequities, we allocated $100 million in annual capital and $16 million in grants to Black-owned or -led businesses, housing and workforce advancement, and committed to doubling Black suppliers.
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the world as we continued to provide relief. The second wave of the Paycheck Protection Program increased the total loans we made to 165,000, worth more than $10 billion by April. This aid served the smallest of the small businesses – 90% of which have fewer than 20 employees
We continue to build on this history of strength to shape the future of our company, industry and communities. Our vision comes to life as we build upon digital tools like our voice banking U.S. Bank Smart Assistant™ making it easier for customers to bank with us and launch initiatives like our U.S. Bank Access Commitment™. Learn more about where we’re going on our vision page.