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60 Years in Spain

May 2022 marks 60 years since JPMorgan Chase predecessor Chase Manhattan Bank opened a representative office in Madrid, marking the firm’s first physical location in the country.

However, the firm’s history with Spain predates the opening of this first office. As early as 1929, J.P. Morgan & Co. led a group of banks to extend a credit estimated at $25 million to the Bank of Spain to stabilize the Spanish currency. Then in 1949, Chase National Bank made its first loan to Spain, a $25 million credit secured by gold. This loan came during a very active period for Chase’s Foreign Department, and disrupted the financial isolation of General Franco’s Spain. However, it would be several years before Chase established a physical presence in the country.

My custom image Chase Manhattan Bank’s "You Have a Friend" advertisement, 1960s

In 1962, Chase Manhattan Bank opened a representative office in Madrid, it’s first in Spain. This office offered financial services for the local units of U.S.-based corporations from 1962 until 1979. Around this time, the Spanish government began to ease its restriction on foreign banks and allowed financial institutions to open branches. On June 15, 1979, Chase Manhattan opened its first full-scale branch in Madrid on Paseo de la Castellana. Chase was one of ten banks to open branches at this time, and Chairman David Rockefeller was present at the ribbon cutting.  Chase was soon joined by other JPMC predecessors in Madrid: Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, Chemical Bank, and The First National Bank of Chicago. 

My custom imageChase Manhattan Bank’s branch at Paseo de la Castellana, 1979

At the start of the 1980s, Chase, Manufacturers Hanover and Chemical Bank expanded into Barcelona. The decision to expand for all of the firm’s predecessor institutions reflected their commitment and confidence in Spain. This was especially true when in 1985, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company was named Spain’s “Bank of the Year” by Dinero magazine. Then in 1987, Morgan Guaranty led Spain’s first two matador bonds, or debt issues for a foreign entity in the Spanish market. This moment further cemented the firm’s reputation in the country.

Today, JPMorgan Chase continues to uphold the legacy of its predecessor institutions over the last 60 years in Spain.

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