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Comerica forerunner Detroit Savings Fund Institute founded by Elon Farnsworth on March 5th. It took in $41 in deposits on the first day of business.
Company name changed to The Detroit Savings Bank.
Manufacturers National Bank of Detroit founded; Comerica 1992 merger partner.
Company name changed to The Detroit Bank.
The Detroit Bank, The Birmingham National Bank, Ferndale National Bank, and Detroit Wabeek Bank and Trust Company were consolidated to form The Detroit Bank & Trust Company.
A holding company, DETROITBANK Corporation, was formed in response to changes in bank regulations.
Corporation changed name to Comerica Incorporated.
Comerica entered Florida market by forming Comerica Trust Company of Florida, N.A.
Manufacturers National Corporation, a future merger partner of Comerica, entered the Illinois market by acquiring Affiliated Banc Group, Inc. The affiliate became known as Comerica Bank-Illinois.
Comerica entered the Texas market by acquiring Grand Bancshares, Inc. The affiliate is now known as Comerica Bank-Texas.
Comerica entered the California market by purchasing Plaza Commerce Bancorp and InBancshares. The affiliate is now known as Comerica Bank-California.
Comerica merged with Manufacturers National Corporation.
Comerica divested of subsidiaries Comerica Bank-Illinois and John V. Carr & Son, Inc.
Comerica marked the 150th anniversary of its founding.
Comerica completes the acquisition of Imperial Bancorp. Comerica Bank-California becomes the fourth largest bank in California.
Comerica consolidates bank charters.
Comerica customers can now bank nationwide.
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Prior to the Civil War, through the Great Depression, and beyond the economic and political turbulence of the 20th Century, Comerica Bank has stood as a beacon of strength, guarding the financial community of Detroit and Michigan.
This beacon also shines today in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and many other markets where Comerica has a presence.
Comerica, originally called Detroit Savings Fund Institute, opened its doors on August 17, 1849, to a city bustling with shipyards, river trade, sawmills, horse drawn carriages and dirt roads. It had six customers that day, with receipts totaling $41. Within two years, the patronage increased to more than 300 with the tally at $25,000.
Unlike most banks of that time, the Institute paid interest on deposits, had no shareholders or capital stock, and was managed by unpaid fiduciaries. Courting customers from the working class, merchants and even children, the Institute enjoyed steady growth, reaching the $1 million mark in 1870.
The next 30 years brought about many changes for the company including a new name, Detroit Savings Bank, and deposits in excess of an incredible $6 million.
At the turn of the century, Detroit experienced a boom when it became birthplace of the automobile industry. Supporting its meteoric rise, Detroit Savings Bank flourished for the next two decades before facing that fateful day in October 1929 -- the stock market crash.
Devastation of the stock market meant shortage of capital, which for Detroit translated into lack of auto sales and ultimately layoffs. Dwindling deposits, shrinking savings accounts and loan defaults sent the banking industry into crisis, but Detroit Savings Bank held on. In 1933 it reveled in a rare influx of cash deposits and new customers.
With renewed confidence and increased clientele, the Bank's board members decided to help Detroit regain its financial foothold and became the first area bank to offer Federal Housing Administration mortgages, in addition to aggressively pursuing commercial accounts.
World War II
A new name, The Detroit Bank, more branches and reinforcement of commercial accounts saw a favorable end to the frenzied 1930s, but a new crisis was just around the corner. As World War II erupted, the Bank saw more than 100 of its valued employees go off to war. While the tellers, being mostly male, suffered the greatest employee deficit, women took the opportunity to join the bank and fill vacant positions.
One employee who made a tremendous difference during the war was bank president Joseph M. Dodge. Dodge negotiated Air Force contracts, headed the Pentagon War Contract Board and worked with both German and Japanese governments to aid in their economic restoration. He was granted the highest civilian war award, the Medal of Merit, and was even honored by the Japanese emperor.
Consolidation Forms Detroit Bank & Trust
As Detroit shifted into the exhilarating 1950s mode of poodle skirts, sock hops, television and rock music, The Detroit Bank experienced its own coming of age. Taking a gigantic step forward it merged with the Birmingham National Bank, Ferndale National Bank and the Detroit Wabeek Bank & Trust Company in 1956, forming Detroit Bank & Trust.
What had started out more than a 100 years earlier with a mere $41 emerged from the age of innocence and entered the chaotic 1960s with assets well over one billion dollars. People were on the move both personally and professionally, and the Bank helped them improve their homes, autos and educations. To keep up with the times, the Bank installed its first computer to help in processing checks and record keeping.
Longer work hours meant less time to visit banks, so Detroit Bank & Trust introduced their first automated teller machine (ATM) at their Birmingham branches in 1971. Better electronics, designer fashions and trendy vacations had customers clamoring for ways to make their dollars stretch, so the Bank introduced the Master Charge in the early 70s. Bank regulation modifications in 1973 necessitated restructuring to a holding company, and the DETROITBANK Corporation was created.
Comerica Name, New Markets
One more name change in the early 1980s and Comerica Incorporated was established. The new name reflected the national scope of Comerica’s products and services and its desire for expansion to new markets.
As its senior customers retired or wintered in Florida, Comerica packed some of its bags and headed south in 1982 to establish branch offices. With the economic growth of America, Comerica headed for the wide-open spaces of Texas in 1988 and continued west to California in the early 1990s.
Racing toward the millennium, Comerica experienced extraordinary change. This began in 1992, when Comerica merged with in-market rival Manufacturers National Corporation. As Comerica carved a niche for itself in Detroit through the years, Manufacturers proved a worthy competitor. Both banks were nearly equal in assets and employees and had enjoyed great success. However, the banks’ CEOs recognized the emerging era of rapid consolidation in banking and their own vulnerability to takeovers. The merger of equals between Comerica and Manufacturers was a major achievement.
With the merger, the Comerica name remained, inserted into the familiar blue trapezoid of Manufacturers to form a new logo for a new Comerica. Manufacturers' chairman and CEO Gerald V. MacDonald became the combined company's first CEO. With the merger, Comerica became the country's 25th largest bank holding company, with assets in excess of $20 billion.
In 1993 Eugene Miller succeeded MacDonald as chairman and chief executive of Comerica. Miller, who joined the company in 1955, possessed the vision and drive to take the company to a higher level. He launched a review and reengineering project that streamlined bureaucracy, dropped businesses or products that were unprofitable, strengthened the company's top-performing lines and took Comerica into the Canadian and Mexican markets. While redesigning the company, Miller never lost sight of the needs of the customer.
In 2001, Vice Chairman Ralph W. Babb Jr. succeeded Eugene A. Miller as president and chief executive officer. Babb, who was Comerica's chief financial officer, assumed the duties and responsibilities of president and chief executive officer on January 1, 2002. Miller remained chairman until his retirement at the end of September 2002, at which time he was succeeded in that role by Babb. Babb also joined the Board of Directors.
Through its more than 150 years, Comerica has reinvented itself many times, but two things have never changed: The customer comes first and Detroit is still called home.
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