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The Chemical Banking Corporation was the fifth-largest bank holding company in terms of total assets. The other assets on the bank's balance sheet included cash as well as various debt and equity securities. Chemical's level of capital at the end of remained strong, with capital adequacy ratios well in excess of regulatory requirements.
The Corporation's Tier 1 and Total Capital ratios were 8. Within retail banking, Chemical provided personal and commercial checking accounts , savings and time deposit accounts , personal loans, consumer financing and mortgage banking as well as trust and estate administration. Chemical also had a significant presence in investment banking as well as underwriting corporate debt and equity securities. The bank's private equity and venture capital functions were also housed in this division. Global Markets was primarily focused on sales and trading activities, foreign exchange dealing ; derivatives trading and structuring , risk management and other market related functions.
Consumer and Relationship Banking was made up of a number of businesses, including consumer banking , commercial banking ; credit cards ; mortgage banking and other consumer finance, i.
Chemical maintained a leading market share position in providing financial services to middle market companies nationally and small businesses in the New York metropolitan area.
This division also included a small private banking business, although Chemical was not a leading player in this market. In , the bank agreed to sell its building to its neighbor Barnum's American Museum the building collapsed during Barnum's subsequent remodeling and in the bank moved into its newly constructed headquarters at Broadway. In , the bank constructed a new headquarters on the original and adjacent properties at Broadway.
In , the bank made plans to move again, this time constructing a new six-story building at Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Cortlandt Street , closer to the Financial District.
Chemical moved in after the building was completed in , and the bank's headquarters remained there for more than five decades. John Mason , early shareholder and second president of Chemical Bank — Isaac Jones, third president of Chemical Bank John Q.
Jones, fourth president of Chemical Bank — Certificate of Stock of the Chemical Manufacturing Company, ca. Melick together with the original directors of the company, John C.
Seely, and William Stebbins. The following year, in April , the company successfully amended its charter to allow Chemical to begin its banking practice. Balthazar Melick was named the first president of the bank, which catered to merchants in New York City. Mason, who would later be referred to as "the father of the Chemical Bank" and was one of the richest merchants of his day in New York, succeeded Baltus Melick in For its first twenty-five years, the bank paid no dividends, nor did it pay interest on customer deposits.
When a speculative bubble collapsed on May 10, , banks suspended payment of gold and silver. Although in the crisis Chemical followed others in suspending payments, they stood alone in a subsequent crisis twenty years later , when they continued to make payments in specie. Even in , Chemical was still one of the earliest to resume payments in specie. The Mason and Jones families would maintain effective control of Chemical for much of its first five decades.
Jones was succeeded in by George G. Williams, who had joined the bank in and served as cashier of the bank from onward. Williams would serve as president from through Jones serving from — and George G. Williams serving in and from — The panic, which had hit banks and caused a number of failures, led banks across the country to suspend specie payments and turn to issuing paper promissory notes.
This reputation proved extremely important in Chemical's growth during subsequent recessions during the s. Chemical frequently used the refrain "Good as gold then, good as gold today" in advertisements from the s well into the 20th century. This allowed Chemical to issue government-backed national bank notes, the forerunner to paper money.
Its stock commands a greater price in proportion to its par value than any other bank stock. It has the greatest surplus and undivided profits, with a single exception, of any bank in the country. It has the largest amount of individual deposits. It pays the largest percentage of dividends on its par value of any corporation of any kind Johnston, president of Chemical —, responsible for building Chemical into one of the largest U.
Twitchell, president of Chemical — and responsible for initiating major changes at the bank By the first decade of the 20th century, Chemical had one of the strongest reputations in banking but as a business was in decline, losing accounts each year.
Unlike many of its peers, Chemical had been reluctant to expand into securities and other businesses and had not paid interest on bank accounts. Both practices, considered to be highly conservative, had allowed Chemical to develop a large capital reserve but were not attracting customers.
William H. Porter , a prominent banker of the era, was named president of the bank in after the death of the previous president George G. Martindale, who was named president in Hunt, a niece of Wilson G.
Johnston and remained with the bank as chairman of the board. During this period, Chemical also established Chemical National Company, a securities underwriting business.
The Corn Exchange Bank , acquired in , expanded the bank's branch network The New York Trust Company merged in increasing the bank's wholesale banking business In , after the retirement of Percy Johnston, Harold Holmes Helm was named the new president of Chemical and would serve first as president and later as chairman of the bank for the next 18 years until his retirement in Under Helm, Chemical completed a series of large mergers in the late s and early s that again made the bank among the largest in the U.
Chemical completed its largest acquisition to that point, in , merging with the Corn Exchange Bank to become the Chemical Corn Exchange Bank. Founded in , the Corn Exchange Bank was based in New York City, but had built a network of branches in other states through the acquisition of community banks.
New York Trust Company, which had a large trust and wholesale-banking business, specialized in servicing large industrial accounts. In , Chemical reorganized itself as a bank holding company, Chemical New York Corporation, which allowed for more rapid expansion. However, by the late s and early s, Chemical was focused on building its international business. Chemical and Florida National Bank agreed, in , to enter into a merger, after laws preventing interstate banking were lifted, giving Chemical an option to acquire the business.
By the late s, Chemical developed its reputation for financing buyouts, building a syndicated leveraged finance business and related advisory businesses under the auspices of pioneering investment banker, Jimmy Lee.
Additionally, in , Chemical launched Chemical Venture Partners to invest in private equity transactions alongside various financial sponsors.
The transaction, when it closed at the end of , made the combined bank, which retained the Chemical name, the second largest bank in the U. In corporate banking, Manufacturers Hanover was better established with larger, blue-chip companies, whereas Chemical had been stronger with small- and medium-sized businesses.
Additionally, Chemical took a leading role providing foreign exchange, interest rate and currency swaps, corporate finance services, cash management, corporate and institutional trust, trade services and funds transfer. Chemical operated one of the nation's largest bank credit card franchises and was a major originator and servicer of home mortgages.
Although Chemical was the acquiring company and the nominal survivor, the merged bank adopted the Chase name, which was considered to be better known, particularly internationally.
Chase, which at its height had been the largest bank in the U. Throughout all of these acquisitions, Chemical's original management team, led by Walter V. Shipley , remained in charge of the bank. When the combined bank purchased J. Harrison, Jr. Additionally, many of Chemical's businesses remained intact through the various mergers. Chemical's private equity group for example, was renamed multiple times, ultimately becoming JP Morgan Partners before completing a spin-out from the bank, as CCMP Capital , after the bank's merger with Bank One.