The Frankfurter Bank was a German bank founded in 1854 in Frankfurt, which issued its own banknotes until 1901. On 1 January 1970, it merged with the Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft to form Berliner Handels- und Frankfurter Bank, generally referred to as BHF Bank until 2007 and since then as ODDO BHF.[1]

Entrance of the Frankfurter Bank in the 1950s, Neue Mainzer Strasse 69 in Frankfurt

Overview edit

The Frankfurter Bank was founded in 1854 to serve as a central bank for the then-autonomous Free City of Frankfurt, realizing a project that had long been under discussion but was accelerated by the nearby establishment of the Darmstädter Bank the previous year.[2] The bank was sponsored by local banking houses including M. A. Rothschild & Söhne, Bethmann Bank, and Grunelius & Co. [de], and authorized by the Frankfurt municipal council; the initial share subscription was oversubscribed 16 times, above all expectations.[3] Its first general manager was Wilhelm Isaac Gillé [de]. The bank issued banknotes denominated in Guilders (German: Gulde), by then the monetary standard in the South German area of which Frankfurt was part. Together with the Bank of Bremen, it was viewed as more independent than most other note-issuing banks in Germany, which were generally under direct government control even when they were not government-owned.[4]: 192 

The Frankfurter Bank's money did not have legal tender status but enjoyed solid reputation and was accepted beyond the boundaries of the city-state, even after the latter came to an end in 1866. In 1885, the sentence "The Frankfurter Bank in Frankfurt-am-Main has always had a particularly respected position in the commercial world" (German: "Eine besonders geachtete Stellung nahm in der kaufmännischen Welt von jeher die Frankfurter Bank in Frankfurt a. M. ein") was included in the Meyers Konversations-Lexikon phrasebook.[2] The Frankfurter Bank was allowed to keep issuing banknotes until 1901, even though this activity had become marginal following the establishment of the Reichsbank in 1875; the banknotes were finally withdrawn on 31 December 1901.[3]

The Frankfurter Bank was originally located at Münzgasse 2 in Frankfurt's historic city center.[5] In the late 19th century, it erected a palatial head office at Neue Mainzerstrasse 69, designed by architect Hermann Ritter [de].[6] That building was destroyed during World War II, then rebuilt in the 1950s on a streamlined monumental design. It was eventually demolished to make way for the Bürohaus an der Alten Oper [de] skyscraper, erected in the early 1980s.[5]

In 1925, the State Bank of Prussia took a 10 percent equity stake in the Frankfurter Bank.[3] In 1946, on the joint initiative of surviving board member Hans Heinrich Hauck and former Reichs-Kredit-Gesellschaft (RKG) board member Hermann Jannsen, the bank was reorganized as a credit institution, and in the following years the Frankfurter Bank's management increasingly included former executives of the defunct RKG.[5] In 1962, the bank opened its first branch outside of Frankfurt.[3] It eventually merged with Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft, which after 1945 had also relocated to Frankfurt.[7]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Pohl, Manfred; Freitag, Sabine; History, European Association for Banking (1994-01-01). Handbook on the History of European Banks. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 9781781954218.
  2. ^ a b Gerald Braunberger (13 May 2013). "Frankfurts vergessene Notenbank". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  3. ^ a b c d "Frankfurter Bank". Freunde Historischer Wertpapiere.
  4. ^ Charles Arthur Conant (1915). A History of Modern Banks of Issue. New York & London: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
  5. ^ a b c The History of BHF-BANK and its Predecessor Institutes, BHF-Bank, 2012
  6. ^ "Frankfurter Bank in Frankfurt a. M.; erbaut von Architekt Hermann Ritter daselbst". TU Berlin Architekturmuseum. 1894.
  7. ^ Ernst Neubronner (1998), "Der Wiederaufbau der deutschen Geschäftsbanken nach 1945 am Beispiel der Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft", Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte, 43 (2): 216–226, doi:10.1515/zug-1998-0205