First Commercial Bank in Nation
Massachusetts Bank Est. 1784

Just after the Revolutionary War ended, a group of patriot merchants, including John Hancock, initiated a fiscal revolution by founding the Massachusetts Bank, our nation's first true commercial bank. After the War, the colonial economy was in dire straits. The Massachusetts Bank provided much-needed capital for local merchants, and improved the circulation of cash in and around Boston by printing its own notes.

The bank's first home was in a factory building on the current location of the Park Street Church. One of the bank's first projects was to find an outlet for American goods. Boston investors funded the ship, Columbia, and opened the China trade. Massachusetts Bank, and the commercial banks that followed, expanded Boston's economy by financing the China trade and the railroads. Boston eventually became one of the major world cities for money management, thus setting the stage for dreamers and doers. Two hundred years after its establishment, Massachusetts Bank still exists as Fleet Boston Financial.

  Entrepreneurs: The Boston Business Community,
editors Conrad Wright and Katheryn Viens