Profile America: Bank of North America, 1781

Bank of North America, 1781. Source: Free Library of Philadelphia

Monday, January 7th. During the Revolutionary War, the rebelling colonies and the Continental Congress were anything but too big to fail. To the contrary, finances were very spotty and precarious. To help put affairs in order and make credit available, the first commercial bank in the aspiring nation opened on this date in 1782, just a week after being chartered by Congress. Called the Bank of North America, it was capitalized at $400,000, which roughly would be $8.3 million today. The names of founding stockholders read like a list of our Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and John Paul Jones.

Today, there are nearly 92,000 commercial banking establishments nationwide, employing over 1.5 million people. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online.

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