The Bank of New York, now called the BNY Mellon since a merger in 2007, is the oldest bank in America. BNY is described as the oldest bank in the United States by the U.S. Department of Justice. The American Bankers Association recognizes Bank of New York as the oldest continuously operating bank in the United States.
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were amongst the Bank of New York’s founding shareholders. Future Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton founded the Bank of New York. The Bank of New York played an important role in the development of the United States economy, providing financing for major projects such as the Erie Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad. It also played a key role in the growth of the financial industry, pioneering the use of stock certificates and other financial instruments.
The Bank of New York provided the first loan ever made to the United States government, in the amount of $200,000. It was also the first company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange when it first opened in 1792.
The shipping industry in New York City chafed under the lack of a bank, and investors envied the 14% dividends that Bank of North America paid, and months of local discussion culminated in June 1784. The meeting took place at a coffee house on St. George’s Square which led to the official formation of the Bank of New York company. It operated without a charter for seven years.
The Bank of New York merged with the Mellon Financial Corporation in 2007 and is now the world's largest custodian bank and securities services company. In February 2021 Bank of New York Mellon, the nation’s oldest bank, said that it would begin financing bitcoin and other digital currencies. In October 2022 the bank launched more crypto services as it announced it would store private keys and provide bookkeeping services equivalent to those offered to fund managers in traditional assets.
As of January 2022 BNY Mellon, is not only the oldest bank in the United States, it is also the world’s largest custodian bank and asset servicing company, with an estimated $2 trillion in assets under management, $46 trillion in assets under custody and operating in 35 countries. Despite its growth and evolution, the Bank of New York Mellon can trace its roots back to the founding of the original Bank of New York more than 200 years ago.
Today it is a bank holding company, which engages in global financial services. It provides financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, offering investment management and investment services through a worldwide client-focused team. The company operates through three segments: Investment Management, Investment Services. This oldest bank in the nation is currently headquartered in lower Manhattan, New York City.
*Note: Some sources claim The First Bank Of The United States located in Philadelphia, PA is the oldest bank. But that claim is erroneous. Although The First Bank Of The United States opened in 1791, before Bank of NY Mellon, the building is now a museum owned by the U.S. National Park Service. The First Bank Of The United States closed its doors on March 3, 1811. The building was included in Independence National Historical Park when the park was formed in 1956.