Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Northern Trust Co.
Northern Trust Co.

Northern Trust Co.

In 1889, Byron L. Smith collected about $1 million from leading Chicago businessmen, including Marshall Field and Philip D. Armour, to start a banking enterprise. Buoyed by the exposure it gained from opening a branch at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the company's deposits grew to $10 million by the mid-1890s. From 1914 to 1963, the bank—which made its home on LaSalle Street in the Loop—was led by Solomon A. Smith, a son of the founder. Unlike many banks, Northern Trust grew during the Great Depression: deposits increased from about $50 million in 1929 to $300 million in 1935. By the beginning of the 1960s, when deposits totaled nearly $1 billion, Northern Trust was Chicago's fourth-largest bank. In 1974, when, after opening a branch in London and expanding to a new building at Wacker and Adams, the bank employed about 3,000 people in the Chicago area, its fortunes were boosted by a new federal law requiring that the assets in corporate benefit and pension funds be overseen by independent custodians. In 1982, it added banking operations in Florida. Despite the bear stock market of the early 2000s, Northern had become Chicago's third-largest bank, with over $1.3 trillion in assets under custody and over 9,300 employees worldwide and almost 6,000 in the Chicago area.