Though JPMorgan Chase’s relationship with Italy has developed in earnest over the last 100 years, as early as the late 19th century, our firm’s predecessor and partner institutions participated in loans for the Italian government. The earliest of these loans dates to 1881, when J.S. Morgan & Co., the firm founded by J. Pierpont Morgan's father Junius and an early partner of J.P. Morgan & Co., participated in a £14.6 million loan to the Italian government.
It was during the first few decades of the 20th century, however, that our firm truly laid the foundation for its relationship with Italy.
Our History in Italy
In 1915, J.P. Morgan & Co., founded in 1871 by J. Pierpont Morgan, participated in a $25 million loan for the Italian government co-headed by Guaranty Trust Company of New York, another JPMorgan Chase predecessor.
That same year, the Bank of Italy opened its first dollar account with the Guaranty Trust Company.
During WWI, J.P. Morgan & Co. acted as purchasing agent for the European Allies, which included Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Romania and Greece. The Morgan firm purchased $3 billion worth of supplies-from horses to artillery shells-representing nearly half of all American supplies sold to the European Allies.
In 1918, the Italian Discount and Trust Company opened for business in New York under the auspices of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York and the Banca Italiana Disconto. The Italian Discount and Trust Company facilitated banking and trust company services, specializing in Italian import and export trade.
In the spring of 1925, J.P. Morgan & Co. initiated a series of postwar loans and credits. The firm first arranged a $50 million credit to a group of three Italian banks headed by the Bank of Italy. In November of the same year, the $50 million credit was expanded into a $100 million loan to the Kingdom of Italy, with J.P. Morgan & Co. leading the syndicate. The bonds were heavily oversubscribed.
In 1927, J.P. Morgan & Co. offered a credit of $25 million to the Bank of Italy in an effort to stabilize the Italian lira and facilitate Italy’s return to the gold standard. The Italian government conferred upon J.P. Morgan, Jr. the Royal Order of the Crown of Italy for his firm’s help.
In 1928, Chase National Bank, a JPMorgan Chase predecessor, opened a representative office in Rome. This was JPMorgan Chase’s first physical banking presence in the country.
Chase National Bank’s representative office, which had closed during WWII, reopened for business.
Chase National Bank and Guaranty Trust Company of New York, renamed Morgan Guaranty Trust Company after its 1959 merger with J.P. Morgan, expanded both their operations in Italy and services for Italians living abroad.
In 1961, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company opened a representative office in Rome.
In 1967, Morgan Guaranty acquired a majority interest in Banca Vonwiller, a private bank founded in Milan in 1819. The bank was renamed Banca Morgan Vonwiller.
Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company and Chase Manhattan Bank expanded their banking operations in Italy with additional offices in Milan and Rome. In 1969, Banca Morgan Vonwiller opened an office in Rome while The Chase Manhattan Bank opened a full-service branch in Milan.
During the 1960s, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company was instrumental in assisting with Italy’s currency stabilization.
In late 1976, Morgan Guaranty sold its interest in Banca Morgan Vonwiller and opened a direct branch office in Milan in mid-1977.
Morgan Guaranty opened a branch office in Rome in 1978 and appointed an Italian management team to lead its operations.
In 1990, J.P. Morgan & Co. became the first foreign primary dealer in Italy’s bond market.
J.P. Morgan & Co. established its Private Banking business in Milan.
J.P. Morgan & Co. and The Chase Manhattan Corporation merged, forming JPMorgan Chase & Co. The new entity maintained a local Italian presence through a full branch in Milan and a representative office in Rome.
JPMorgan Chase continues to foster its relationship with Italy. In 2015, the firm established its Private Client Advisory (PCA) business, an advisory team dedicated to serving entrepreneurs and family businesses.