Bank of America

Spanning over a century, Bank of America has grown from a small California institution to one of the largest financial services companies.

This timeline outlines the history of Bank of America and key events in its expansion into a national bank, split into three eras: Early History (1904-1960s), National Expansion (1960s-1990s), and Recent History (1998-Present).

What follows is a detailed timeline of major milestones, acquisitions, products, controversies, and more in Bank of America's development over the decades.

EARLY HISTORY (1904-1960S)

Building of the Bank of Italy
© History Oasis

1904 — Bank of Italy

Amadeo Pietro Giannini (CEO) founds the Bank of Italy in San Francisco to cater to working class citizens overlooked by traditional banks.

It grows quickly by providing services like lending to small businesses.

1922 — Largest Bank in California

Giannini orchestrates the acquisition of Bank of America Los Angeles, merging it with Bank of Italy.

The combined institution is the largest bank in California.

1928 — Name Change

Bank of Italy changes name to Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association and continues aggressive expansion across California, acquiring dozens of rival regional banks and establishing hundreds of branch locations.

1953 — Antitrust Crackdown

After rapid growth, Bank of America is forced to separate its commercial banking and insurance businesses due to new regulations and antitrust rulings at the time.

This slows its expansion.

1958 — BankAmericad

Bank of America launches the BankAmericard, which would become the first successful credit card in the U.S. By the late 1960s, the card's issuer network evolves into Visa after going national.


a Bank of America in Chicago
© History Oasis

1968 — Expansion Outside of California

Regulatory changes allow Bank of America to expand outside California for the first time.

This enables plans for national growth after decades confined to the state.

1983 — Seafirst Bank

Bank of America acquires Seafirst Bank in its first major interstate expansion, giving it a major presence in Washington state for the first time.

1992 — Security Pacific Corp

The acquisition of California rival Security Pacific Corp massively grows Bank of America's West Coast operations, cementing its leadership.

1994 — Midwest Expansion

The purchase of Continental Illinois National Bank allows Bank of America to establish itself in the Midwest region for the first time.

1998 — A Coast-to-Coast Bank

After years of rapid growth, Bank of America itself is acquired by North Carolina's NationsBank in a $62 billion deal that creates the modern coast-to-coast franchise.


A Bank of America in Boston
© History Oasis

2004 — East Coast Expansion

Bank of America acquires FleetBoston, solidifying its position as a leading East Coast and New England bank with millions of new customers.

2006 — MBNA

The purchase of credit card issuer MBNA makes Bank of America the largest credit card provider in the United States.

2008 — Countrywide Financial

During the financial crisis, Bank of America buys the largest mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and storied investment bank Merrill Lynch, but requires government bailouts.

2009 — Bank Bailout

The bank receives $45 billion in bailout funds from TARP government program during the recession.

The government takes a stake in the company.

2014 — Department of Justice Settlement

Bank of America settles Department of Justice allegations over mortgage practices during the crisis for $17 billion.

2015-Present — Digital Banking

The bank focuses on digital banking, closing hundreds of branches while mobile users surge to over 20 million.

It begins expanding its retail footprint into new markets.