Commerzbank's History Commerzbank's History

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1870 to 1923

1870On 26 February a number of merchants, merchant bankers and private bankers found the Commerz- und Disconto-Bank in Hamburg in the form of a joint-stock company. Companies involved include Conrad Hinrich Donner, Carl Geo. Heise, Hesse Newman & Co., Lieben Königswarter, Emile Nölting & Co., Wm. O'Swald, M. M. Warburg & Co., Theodor Wille, C. Woermann in Altona und Hamburg, Mendelssohn & Co. in Berlin, B. H. Goldschmidt in Frankfurt am Main and L. E. Amsinck & Co. in New York.
The bank becomes operative on 25 April, and its first balance sheet of 31 December that year reveals a total amount of 6.13 million banco marks (roughly 9.2 million marks).
1871The Hamburg-South American Steamship Company (Hamburg-Süd) is established in November, with Commerz- und Disconto-Bank as one of the founder members.
1873The London and Hanseatic Bank in London is opened. Commerz- und Disconto-Bank holds more than half of the nominal capital of £666,000. This stake is maintained until the First World War.
No dividend is paid, owing to the economic crisis occurring after the creation of the German Reich.
1878Commerz- und Disconto-Bank issues its first bond, the 5 % Göteborg municipal bond.
1881German and Austrian banks establish Nationalbank für Deutschland in Berlin. Commerz- und Disconto-Bank takes over 10 % of equity capital (= 4 million marks).
1893Commerz- und Disconto-Bank forms part of consortium to restructure Schuckert & Co. as Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft vorm. Schuckert & Co., Nuremberg.
1894Helps establish Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke, Hamburg.
1897Takes over Frankfurt bank J. Dreyfus & Co. including its Berlin branch, and continues to run it as branches. As of 1898 "in Hamburg" is dropped from the bank's name.
1899Bank's first deposit branch opened in Berlin in April, centrally located in Jerusalemer Strasse leading from Hausvogteiplatz.
1900Commerz- und Disconto-Bank starts establishing deposit branches in Hamburg, the first in St. Pauli.
1904Frankfurt branch renamed J. Dreyfus & Co. on 1 January, and Commerz- und Disconto-Bank's limited partnership holding of 3 million marks ends as agreed in 1908.
1905Berliner Bank taken over, to which end Commerz- und Disconto-Bank raises its capital by 35 million to 85 million marks. The former Berliner Bank premises on the corner of Behrenstrasse 46/Charlottenstrasse 47 become the bank's new headquarters. By the time of the First World War, the network of deposit branches in Berlin has risen to 44.
1917-1923Some 40 banks taken over and a number of branches opened, including some in Bremen, Danzig, Dortmund, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Munich.
1920Merger with Mitteldeutsche Privat-Bank in Magdeburg. In June, Commerz- und Disconto-Bank raises its capital by 115 million marks to 200 million; 60 million of this are used to acquire Mitteldeutsche Privat-Bank shares on a 1:1 basis. The merger increases the number of outlets by almost 100 to 284, mainly in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia. In order to underline the significance of the move, the bank changes its name to Commerz- und Privat-Bank.
1923Commerz- und Privat-Bank acquires stakes in N.V. Hugo Kaufmann & Co.'s Bank in Amsterdam and the Rigaer Internationale Bank in Riga.

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