The history of Citigroup begins with the City Bank of New York, which was chartered by New York State on June 16, 1812, with $2 million of capital. Serving a group of New York merchants, the bank opened for business on September 14 of that year, and Samuel Osgood was elected as the first President of the company. The company's name was changed to The National City Bank of New York in 1865 after it joined the new U.S. national banking system, and it became the largest American bank by 1895. It became the first contributor to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1913, and the following year it inaugurated the first overseas branch of a U.S. bank in Buenos Aires, although the bank had, since the mid-nineteenth century, been active in plantation economies, such as the Cuban sugar industry. The 1918 purchase of U.S. overseas bank International Banking Corporation helped it become the first American bank to surpass $1 billion in assets, and it became the largest commercial bank in the world in 1929. As it grew, the bank became a leading innovator in financial services, becoming the first major U.S. bank to offer compound interest on savings (1921); unsecured personal loans (1928); customer checking accounts (1936) and the negotiable certificate of deposit (1961).
The bank changed its name to The First National City Bank of New York in 1955, which was shortened in 1962 to First National City Bank on the 150th anniversary of the company's foundation. The company organically entered the leasing and credit card sectors, and its introduction of USD certificates of deposit in London marked the first new negotiable instrument in market since 1888. Later to become MasterCard, the bank introduced its First National City Charge Service credit card – popularly known as the "Everything card" – in 1967.
On April 6, 1998, a merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group was announced to the world, creating a $140 billion firm with assets of almost $700 billion. The deal enabled Travelers to market mutual funds and insurance to Citicorp's retail customers while giving the banking divisions access to an expanded client base of investors and insurance buyers. Salomon Brothers
and Smith Barney
were also included in the deal, as they had been previously absorbed by Travelers.Close Up of Vignette
Common Stock, specimen, late 1900’sPrinter: American Bank Note Company Dimensions:
8” (h) x 12” (w)State: NY-New York Subject Matter: Finance And Related
| Brokerage Houses
| Specimen Pieces Vignette Topic(s): Allegorical Featured
| Globe Featured Condition:
No fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and bodies. Very crisp.
This piece contains the printed signature
of Sanford Weill as one of the company Chairmen. Weill, shortly after graduating from Cornell University, got his first job on Wall Street in 1955 - as a runner for Bear Stearns
. In 1956, Weill became a licensed broker at Bear Stearns. Rather than making phone calls or personal visits to solicit clients, Weill found he was far more comfortable sitting at his desk, poring through companies' financial statements and disclosures made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For weeks his only client was his mother, Etta, until Joan persuaded an ex-boyfriend to open a brokerage account.
While working at Bear Stearns, Weill was a neighbor of Arthur L. Carter who was working at Lehman Brothers
. Together with Roger Berlind and Peter Potoma they would form Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill in May 1960. In 1962 the firm became Carter, Berlind & Weill after the New York Stock Exchange brought disciplinary proceedings against Potoma.
In 1968, with the departure of Arthur Carter, the firm was renamed Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt (Marshall Cogan, Arthur Levitt), or CBWL jokingly referred to on Wall Street as Corned Beef With Lettuce. Weill served as the firm's Chairman from 1965 to 1984, a period in which it completed over 15 acquisitions to become the country’s second largest securities brokerage firm. The company became CBWL-Hayden, Stone, Inc. in 1970; Hayden Stone, Inc.
in 1972; Shearson Hayden Stone in 1974, when it merged with Shearson Hammill & Co.; and Shearson Loeb Rhoades in 1979, when it merged with Loeb, Rhoades, Hornblower & Co.
With capital totalling $250 million, Shearson Loeb Rhoades trailed only Merrill Lynch
as the securities brokerage industry's largest firm.
In 1981 Weill sold Shearson Loeb Rhoades to American Express
for about $930 million in stock. (Sources differ on the precise figure.) In 1982, he founded the National Academy Foundation with the Academy of Finance to educate students that would graduate from High School. Weill began serving as president of American Express Co. in 1983 and as chairman and CEO of American Express's insurance subsidiary, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, in 1984. Weill was succeed by his protege, Peter A. Cohen, who became the youngest head of a Wall Street firm. While at American Express, Weill began grooming his newest protege, Jamie Dimon, the future CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
Increasing tensions between Weill and the chairman of American Express, James D. Robinson III, led Weill to resign in August 1985 at age 52. After a failed attempt to become the CEO of BankAmerica Corp. (and "take over" Merrill Lynch, according to a Jamie Dimon interview in 2002), he set his sights a little lower and persuaded Minneapolis-based Control Data Corporation to spin off a troubled subsidiary, Commercial Credit, a consumer finance company. In 1986, with $7 million of his own money invested in the company, Weill took over as CEO of Commercial Credit. After a round of deep layoffs and reorganization, the company completed a successful IPO.
In 1987 he acquired Gulf Insurance. The next year, 1988, he paid $1.5 billion for Primerica, the parent company of Smith Barney and the A. L. Williams insurance company. In 1989 he acquired Drexel Burnham Lambert
's retail brokerage outlets. In 1992, he paid $722 million to buy a 27 percent share of Travelers Insurance, which had gotten into trouble because of bad real estate investments.
In 1993 he reacquired his old Shearson brokerage (now Shearson Lehman) from American Express for $1.2 billion. By the end of the year, he had completely taken over Travelers Corp in a $4 billion stock deal and officially began calling his corporation Travelers Group Inc. In 1996 he added to his holdings, at a cost of $4 billion, the property and casualty operations of Aetna Life & Casualty. In September 1997 Weill acquired Salomon Inc., the parent company of Salomon Brothers Inc. for over $9 billion in stock.
In April 1998 Travelers Group announced an agreement to undertake the $76 billion merger between Travelers and Citicorp, and the merger was completed on October 8, 1998. The possibility remained that the merger would run into problems connected with federal law. Ever since the Glass-Steagall Act, banking and insurance businesses had been kept separate. Weill and John S. Reed bet that Congress would soon pass legislation overturning those regulations, which Weill, Reed and a number of businesspeople considered not in their interest.
To speed up the process, they recruited ex-President Gerald Ford (Republican) to the Board of Directors and Robert Rubin (Secretary of Treasury during Democratic Clinton Administration) whom Weill was close to. With both Democrats and Republican on their side, the law was taken down in less than 2 years. Many European countries, for instance, had already torn down the firewall between banking and insurance. During a two-to-five-year grace period allowed by law, Citigroup could conduct business in its merged form; should that period have elapsed without a change in the law, Citigroup would have had to spin off its insurance businesses. Weill's office held a wood etching of him engraved with the words "The Shatterer of Glass-Steagall". Weill denied that the repeal of Glass-Steagall played a role in the recent financial crisis.
In 2001, Sanford I. Weill became a Class A Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Class A Directors are Board Members who are elected by Member Banks (of the Federal Reserve System) to represent the interests of Member Banks.
In 2002 the company was hit by the wave of Wall Street managerial restructuring that followed the stock market downturn of 2002. Chuck Prince replaced Mr. Weill as the CEO of Citigroup on October 1, 2003. In 2003 Citigroup repurchased $300 million worth of shares from Mr. Weill. It was reported among the $1.967 billion of "treasury stock acquired" in the Citigroup consolidated statement of changes in stockholders' equity. The average price Mr. Weill received for his shares was $47.14
After receiving $263.9 million from Citigroup for his 5.6 million shares, Citigroup and Smith Barney employees were encouraged to contribute up to 25% of their pay to purchase shares in Citigroup stock through the Capital Accumulation Plan. Employee funds which were volunatarily used to purchase Citigroup stock were restricted from being sold while they remained in the CAP plan. On June 1, 2009, the day Smith Barney employees (and their restricted stock) were released into the joint venture Morgan Stanley Smith Barney the stock had fallen to $3.71, a 92% discount to the price Weill received from the company.
On March 24, 2009 Citigroup employees who participated in the ailing company's stock purchase plan filed a suit in district court, charging that the financial services firm concealed its exposure to toxic subprime-related and other derivative products. The suit sought class action status.