For many years, this has been the nation's largest bank. The City Bank of New York was chartered in 1812. When it became part of the national banking system in 1865, its name was changed to the National City Bank of New York. The 1955 merger with the First National Bank of the City of New York created the First National City Bank name, which was shortened to Citibank in 1976. For almost one hundred years, its headquarters were at 52 Wall Street. In 1908 it moved to the Merchants Exchange Building at 55 Wall Street, and in 1961, it relocated to 399 Park Avenue. Citicorp Center, with additional offices, was completed in 1977.
During the last quarter of the 19th century, the bank grew from a small commercial institution into the largest bank in the United States. Its reputation for safety attracted deposits from leading corporations, and the bank also became a major underwriter of corporate securities. The National City Company sold foreign and domestic bonds to retail customers. Beginning in 1927, it added common stocks, selling them to clients over the world's largest private telephone line.
The Glass Steagall Act of 1933 separated commercial and investment banking activities, and the operations of National City Company were shut down. The commercial bank continued to expand, creating the negotiable certificate of deposit in 1961, extending across state lines and emphasizing consumer products as regulatory barriers fell. In 1978 it was the first bank to introduce automatic teller machines on a wide scale. By 1979, Citibank became the world's leading foreign-exchange dealer, a position maintained today. Citibank is definitely one of the country's preeminent financial institutions with a presence throughout the United States and overseas.
The distinctive Citicorp Center was designed by Hugh Stebbins with Emery Roth and Sons and was completed in 1977. It stands on four 157' pillars, has a distinctive asymmetrical roof, double-decker elevators and a massive atrium on the lower floors. It is the tallest building in mid-town and one the most dramatic ones constructed since the 1930s.
In 1998 Citibank merged with Salomon Smith Barney Inc. to form Citigroup, a powerful financial institution.