SPONSORS: FIRST NATIONAL BANK

Name: First National Bank

The history of First National Bank can be traced right back to 1791 when the First Bank of the United States was established. Twenty-one years later when the bank was on the verge of collapse it was taken over by Colonel Samuel Osgood, who had fought alongside George Washington in the American War of Independence and later served in Washington's cabinet. He renamed the bank the City Bank of New York and built up the business again. In 1856 the bank's name was changed to become the National City Bank of New York and, by working closely with the US Treasury, became the biggest US bank in 1893. Four years later it opened its first foreign branch and by 1918 was a global company following the purchase of the International Banking Corporation. The bank moved into retail banking in the 1920s and was one of the few to survive the Great Depression. After World War II it merged with the First National (New York) and in 1968 became the First National City Corporation and under president Walter Wriston began a major drive for international growth. It was decided that the company would sponsor the Penske team when it entered F1 in 1974 and in the years that followed the company (which was renamed Citibank in 1976) supported the Penske, March (1976) and Tyrrell (1977-78) teams. The company also backed racing in the United States, notably Al Unser's victory for Chaparral in the Indianapolis 500 in 1978.

In the years that followed the company became a major issuer of credit cards and in 1981 acquired Diners Club. It was the first bank to introduce automated teller machines (ATMs) and in 1981 became the US's biggest bank. There were problems in the late 1980s as a result of the collapse of property prices and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought into the company. The property empire was sold off and the bank began to recover. Today, Citibank has more than 20 million customers and more than 1000 branches in 42 countries.

Print