About Us

Union Bank's History

The story of Union Bank goes back 150 years, to July 5, 1864. That date marks the founding of The Bank of California, the first incorporated commercial bank in the West.

Our Beginnings
In 1880, Yokohama Specie Bank was created in Japan. In the early 1900s, Kaspare Cohn, a German immigrant with a fabric and clothing business, established Kaspare Cohn Commercial & Savings Bank in Los Angeles. In 1918, Kaspare Cohn Commercial & Savings Bank was renamed Union Bank & Trust Company of Los Angeles.

In 1947, Yokohama Specie Bank became The Bank of Tokyo, Ltd., and in 1953 it established a San Francisco subsidiary called The Bank of Tokyo California (BOTC).

Union Bank Is Born
Union Bank & Trust Company of Los Angeles shortened its name to Union Bank in 1958. Union Bancorp, a one-bank holding company, was established in 1967 and acquired by Standard Chartered PLC of London in 1979. BOTC acquired Southern California First National Bank of San Diego and renamed it California First in 1975. Although majority-owned by BOTC, it started trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

In 1984, The Bank of California became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Mitsubishi Bank, Ltd., which had been founded by former samurai Yataro Iwasaki in 1880. Union Bancorp was acquired by California First Bank in 1988, retaining the Union Bank name.

Union Bank Today
In April 1996, The Mitsubishi Bank, Ltd. and The Bank of Tokyo, Ltd. merged in Japan. In San Francisco, The Bank of California and Union Bank consolidated into UnionBanCal Corporation, a bank holding company, and its primary subsidiary Union Bank, N.A.

In 1999, UnionBanCal Corporation became a publicly owned company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, although the majority of its shares were owned by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (BTMU). 

In November 2008, BTMU successfully acquired all of the outstanding shares of UnionBanCal in a cash tender offer, resulting in it becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of BTMU. Tokyo-based BTMU is part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., one of the world's leading financial companies, with assets of more than $2.5 trillion as of March 31, 2013.

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