Monday, October 29, 2007

History: How a bank expanded from a tent into the world

In early 1863, dramatic news emerged out of Port Elizabeth: the Standard Bank of British South Africa had been formed.
The bank was to finance businesses involved in mining.
Established by a group of businessmen, the bank soon merged with several others, including the Commercial Bank of Port Elizabeth, the Colesberg Bank, the British Kaffrarian Bank and the Fauresmith Bank.
The bank financed developments in the Kimberley diamond fields from 1867, but the word "British" dropped from the title in 1883.
When gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand, the bank expanded northward.
In 1886, it started business in a tent at Ferreira's Camp - later to become Johannesburg. It was the first bank to open on the Witwatersrand gold fields.
From the 1890s Standard Bank opened new operations across Africa, so much so that by the 1950s, Standard Bank had about 600 African offices.
In 1962 the bank was registered as a South African company, a subsidiary of the main London-based Standard Bank.

In 1965 it merged with the Bank of West Africa, expanding its operations into Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Now it is Africa's biggest bank by assets.
In 1969, the parent bank merged with Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, to form Standard Chartered Bank. In South Africa the group became known as Standard Bank Investment Corporation, the holding company of the Standard Bank of South Africa.
Standard Chartered sold its 30 percent stake in Standard Bank Group in 1987 and transferred ownership to South African investors.
In 1999 Standard Bank acquired control of Liberty Life and entered bankassurance arrangements.
Last year Standard Bank bought BankBoston Argentina. In August the group bought a controlling interest in Nigeria's IBTC Chartered Bank and acquired 67 percent of Dundas Ünlü Securities, a Turkish stockbroking firm that now operates as Standard Ünlü.

Business Report - History: How a bank expanded from a tent into the world