The Standard Bank of British South Africa, Limited was established and its Memorandum of Association signed in London on 13 October 1862. It was incorporated and registered as a limited liability company on 15 October 1862. Branch banking operations commenced in January 1863 in Port Elizabeth. A feature which distinguished the Imperial banks like Standard Bank from the local private banks was the establishment of a branch network. In 1881 the bank's Memorandum of Association was altered to enable it to operate in areas outside British jurisdiction and in 1883 the word “British” was dropped from its title. The bank was henceforth known as The Standard Bank of South Africa, Limited.
In 1962 a South African subsidiary was formed for which the name The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited was retained while the parent company in London became known as The Standard Bank Limited (later Standard Chartered). The 1960s also saw the diversification of financial services, transforming the bank into a financial services institution rather than a purely commercial bank. By 1969 the bank had several subsidiary companies and Standard Bank Investment Corporation (Stanbic) was formed to serve as a holding company for the Standard Bank group in South Africa.
In 1987 Standard Chartered sold its remaining 39% interest in Standard Bank leaving it as purely South African owned for the first time. The severing of ties saw Standard Bank going into competition with Standard Chartered Bank in Africa while it also established representative offices overseas. To better reflect the group’s structure as a unified banking and financial services organisation, the name Standard Bank Investment Corporation was changed to Standard Bank Group Limited in June 2002.
By 2007 Standard Bank’s foreign ownership stood at about 25% and in a landmark deal Standard Bank Group entered into a strategic partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), the world’s largest bank by market capitalisation whereby ICBC became a 20% shareholder in Standard Bank Group in 2008. Foreign ownership increased to about 40%, leaving Standard Bank still majority South African-owned.
Throughout the years Standard Bank achieved many “firsts” including being the first bank on the diamond fields and on the Witwatersrand gold fields, the first commercial bank to launch an Automated Teller Machine (AutoBank) and first to establish a full electronic branch.
Read more of our history in our latest edition of our Historical Overview
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