M&T Bank - Table of Contents

M&T Bank- Chronological History

By Debra Hall-Stonish


History: M&T Bank is the only Bank in our story that remains Buffalo-based

Founded by Pascal Pratt (hardware and Letchworth Ironworks) and Bronson Rumsey (tannery tycoon). Both were still in their 30s when they boarded a train in NYC to return home to Buffalo. They were already recognized as civic leaders. During the long trip back, the men talked about business and the lack of adequate banking facilities to support the growth happening in the city. They decided to establish a new bank.

Total of 13 founding stockholders: Henry Martin, former president of the Buffalo and Attica Railroad was appointed its first president and remained so for 29 years.

March 1856 – incorporated by the state with paid capital of $200,000 and in August of that year –officially opened for business as Manufacturers and Traders Bank in a rented storefront at 2 East Swan Street. Buffalo had a population of 74,000, and was ranked as world’s largest grain port – bypassing even Chicago. We had 55 hotels.

Before it was a year old – outgrew its original location – increased capital by 250% - moved to larger facility at 275 Main Street. By 1901 – it had relocated four times.

M&T Bank took an active role in providing capital essential to encourage the growth of area businesses: played a vital part in bringing various short railroad lines together, forming basic companies from which major railroad systems developed; leather goods manufacturers became predominant nationally, contributed substantially to the expansion of the Port of Buffalo as a world grain and milling center.

1902 – merged with Merchants Bank of Buffalo

1916 – purchased Third National Bank.

1925 – merged with Fidelity Trust Company (head of the syndicate then underwriting the financing of the Peace Bridge – forming the Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company.) Total combined assets - $100 million.

1927 – acquired Peoples Bank of Buffalo. Total assets - $134 million.

1928 – moved across Swan Street [284 Main St.] after it merged with Fidelity Trust Company. Sold building to Federal Reserve Bank who maintained offices here until 1959 when it built new building on Delaware and Huron.

1959 – this building was demolished and lot left vacant. The marble columns were salvaged from the building and now stand at Baird Point next to LaSalle Lake on UB’s north campus.  For years the columns were in a parking lot off Main Street on South Campus. Remnants of the columns can also be found in the Allentown neighborhood in front of former Tony Sisti Gallery.

1967 – moved to new headquarters at One M&T Plaza.

1969 – M&T Bank became the major subsidiary of First Empire State Corporation, a bank holding company.

1980s – acquired by Robert Wilmers and other shareholders. Current shareholders include Warren Buffet.

1990s – present – continued to acquire banks and now has assets of $97 billion with a presence in 7states. Locally employs  5,000

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2015
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