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U.S. Bank was formed during the 1990s through the acquisitions of several major regional banks in the West and Midwest. Those banks, in turn, had grown from the mergers of numerous smaller banks throughout the years. Since 1988 U.S. Bank has acquired or merged with over 50 banks.
The U.S. Bank name first appeared as United States National Bank of Portland, established in Portland, Oregon in 1891; it changed its name to the United States National Bank of Oregon in 1964. In 1902, it merged with Ainsworth National Bank of Portland, but kept the U.S. National Bank name. The decision turned out to be advantageous for the bank, as a 1913 federal law prohibited other banks from using “United States” in their names from that time forward. U.S. National was among the first banks to form a bank holding company — called U.S. Bancorp, on September 9, 1968.
The central part of the franchise dates from 1864, with the formation of First National Bank of Minneapolis. In 1929, that bank merged with First National Bank of St. Paul (also formed in 1864) and several smaller Upper Midwest banks to form the First Bank Stock Corporation, which changed its name to First Bank System in 1968.
In the eastern part of the franchise, Farmers and Millers Bank in Milwaukee opened its doors in 1853, growing into the First National Bank of Milwaukee and eventually becoming First Wisconsin and ultimately Firstar. In Cincinnati, First National Bank of Cincinnati opened for business in 1863 under National Charter #24—the charter that U.S. Bancorp still operates under today, and one of the oldest active national bank charters in the nation. Despite having started up in the midst of the Civil War, First National Bank of Cincinnati would go on to survive many decades to grow into Star Bank.
US Bank in Hudson, Ohio
These banks thrived as independent entities. As opportunities arose, each participated in in-market mergers and acquisitions during the early decades of the 20th century and in more widespread expansions during the 1980s and 1990s — including the 1993 transaction that brought Colorado National Bank in Denver into the First Bank System, and West One Bancorp of Boise, Idaho, coming into the original U.S. Bancorp in 1995.
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