Our History

 Our history

Standard Chartered Bank was formed in 1969 through the merger of two separate banks, the Standard Bank of British South Africa and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China.

These banks had capitalised on the expansion of trade between Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Chartered Bank

The Chartered Bank was founded by James Wilson following the grant of a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1853.

The bank opened in Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata and Shanghai in 1858, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore in 1859.  

The traditional trade was in cotton from Mumbai, indigo and tea from Kolkata, rice from Burma, sugar from Java, tobacco from Sumatra, hemp from Manila and silk from Yokohama.

The bank played a major role in the development of trade with the East following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the extension of the telegraph to China in 1871.

In 1957 Chartered Bank bought the Eastern Bank, together with the Ionian Bank's Cyprus Branches and established a presence in the Gulf.

The Standard Bank

The Standard Bank was founded in London in 1862 by John Paterson from the Cape Colony in South Africa, and started business in Port Elizabeth in the following year.

The bank was prominent in financing the development of the diamond fields of Kimberley from the 1870s. It later extended its network further north to the new town of Johannesburg when gold was discovered there in 1886.

The bank expanded in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa and had 600 offices by 1953. 

In 1965, it merged with the Bank of West Africa, expanding its operations into Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.  

In 1987 Standard Chartered Bank sold its stake in the Standard Bank, which now operates as a separate entity.

What’s next?

Our past

Our interactive timeline gives a fascinating insight into key moments from our history.

Our strategy

We aspire to be the world's leading international bank, across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

About our strategy

Our growth

We're well placed to expand into emerging economies because of our geographic focus.

View our acquisitions

Our history

Explore our history, from our opening in 1853 to present day using our interactive timeline.

Explore our history

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