Commerzbank's History Commerzbank's History

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1924 to 1945

1924Once hyperinflation has been overcome, the banks have to submit an opening balance sheet in goldmarks on 1 January. Commerz- und Privat-Bank values its previous capital of 700 million marks at 42 million gold marks, and forms reserves of 21 million gold marks. It also calls in preference shares to the value of 100 million marks. These had been issued in 1922 to ward off a hostile take-over.
1927Business with the US increases, and in February a New York representative office is opened. In October, Commerz- und Privat-Bank issues a ten-year, $20-million-dollar bond.
1928Together with the Chase Securities Corporation and bankers Halsey, Stuart & Co. in New York, Commerz- und Privat-Bank founds the General Mortgage and Credit Corporation with $5 million capital, to provide long-term loans to medium-sized German companies.
1929Two big banks merge: Commerz- und Privat-Bank and Mitteldeutsche Creditbank, Frankfurt am Main. To this end, Commerz- und Privat-Bank raises its capital from 60 to 75 million Reichsmarks, and Mitteldeutsche Creditbank shares are acquired on a 1:1 basis. Commerz- und Privat-Bank acquires a number of major bank premises, including some in Essen and Frankfurt am Main. The branch network is extended to places such as Baden-Baden, Hanau, Wetzlar and Wiesbaden.
1931German economy badly hit by banking crisis triggered when on 13 July the Darmstädter und Nationalbank has to close and the government orders all banks to close down for two days.
1932After complex negotiations, the government decides in February that Danat-Bank and Dresdner Bank will merge, likewise Commerz- und Privat-Bank and Barmer Bank-Verein. Capital restructuring results in the government and the Reichsbank holding a 70% stake in Commerz- und Privat-Bank.
1936/37A consortium headed by by bankers Delbrück, Schickler & Co. places these shares with private investors once more.
1939-45During the Second World War, Commerz- und Privat-Bank opens its own branches in German-occupied areas and establishes a number of subsidiaries, including the Hansabank AG in Riga and Reval (1941), the Rijnsche Handelsbank N.V. in Amsterdam (1941) and the Hansabank N.V., Brussels (1942).
1940Commerz- und Privat-Bank assumes the name by which it is generally known, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft.
1942/43Banks are ordered by the Reichsbank to merge their branches in many places. In the case of Commerzbank, the number of branches drops from 359 in 1940 to 260 in 1944.
1945The bank's headquarters move to Hamburg before the end of the war. The 93 outlets in East Berlin and the Soviet-occupied zone are expropriated without any compensation being paid.

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