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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KEYBANK - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KeyBank is a major national bank headquartered in Cleveland, OH. Although, KeyBank?s origins can be traced to the founding of the Commercial Bank of Albany (NY) in 1825, its contemporary organization was formed after a 1994 merger between the Albany, NY-based KeyCorp and Cleveland, OH-based Society Corporation.

The contemporary KeyBank's origins in Cleveland began when Society for Savings (later Society Corp), a mutual savings bank, opened 2 Aug. 1849 in the rear of the Merchants Bank at Superior and Water (W. 9th) streets. Dependent solely on deposits, Society struggled as a financial institution. By the end of the first year, it had $9,500 from 130 depositors. Despite the Panic of 1857, the firm began to flourish, moving to larger quarters at the WEDDELL HOUSE, and by 1859 it had reached $90,000 in deposits. After Society's funds quadrupled during the Civil War, it erected its own office building on the northeast corner of PUBLIC SQUARE in 1867. Under Pres. Samuel H. Mather, the number of depositors steadily grew, and when Society opened a grander 10-story bank building at 127 Public Square in 1890, it had $19.3 million from over 41,000 depositors.

The 1930s Depression had little effect on the bank, and it began one of the nation's first school savings programs during those years. As a mutual savings bank, Society for Savings was restricted to retail banking, and in Jan. 1956 it formed a subsidiary, Society Natl. Bank of Cleveland, to service the needs of commercial customers. When the separate operations proved costly and inefficient, Society for Savings was consolidated with Society Natl. Bank in 1958 and the bank became a major subsidiary of the Society Corp., a newly formed bank holding company. In the 1960s Society regionalized its operations by acquiring affiliates in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Florida and expanded into the overseas market. It became a major player in Ohio banking when it merged with CENTRAN CORP. in Feb. 1986, making it the state's 3rd-largest bank holding company, with $8.7 billion in assets. Headquarters for the combined bank were established in the Central Natl. Bank Bldg. at 800 Superior Ave. Society Corp.'s expansion continued under CEO Robert W. Gillespie. In a landmark merger with AMERITRUST 13 Sept. 1991, Society consolidated 2 of Cleveland's major banking institutions. During 1992 the merger was completed, and the headquarters returned to the new Society Center (now KEY CENTER ) at Public Square. In 1994, Society merged with KeyCorp.

KeyCorp began operations in 1832, as the Commercial Bank of Albany. After several name changes, the bank switched its name to "Key" in 1979. After merging with the Cleveland-based Society Corporation, corporate leaders decided to retain the "Key," name, but use Society's Cleveland headquarters in the Society Tower (later re-named Key Tower). The merger made Key Bank the, nation's 11th largest bank, with almost $60 billion in assets in 18 states and 69 branches in the greater Cleveland area.

In 2011, Beth Mooney became CEO of KeyBank, making her the first female head of a top-20 U.S. bank. As of 2012, KeyBank held over 87 billion in assets, had over 15,000 employees, and over 1,000 branches.

Society National Bank of Cleveland Records, WRHS. "Facts About KeyBank." Accessed January, 2013.

Goudreau, Jenna. "From Secretary To CEO: Beth Mooney Makes Banking History." Forbes, September 6, 2011. Accessed January 2, 2013.

Last Modified: 02 Jan 2013 01:11:27 PM

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