En route to becoming the dynamic financial institution it is today, National Bank took a number of important steps.

Here are some of the milestones in our history:

May 1859

The Province of Canada is comprised of Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) under a single legislature when Eugène Chinic, Isidore Thibodeau, Ulric-Joseph Tessier, Olivier Robitaille, Cirice Têtu, David Dussault and Prudent Vallée of Quebec City petition the Legislative Assembly to incorporate a new bank. Dissatisfied with the policies of existing banks, francophone businessmen feel the need to establish a bank under their own control, a bank that will promote their own interests. The Act of Incorporation is passed and on May 4th Banque Nationale the first of a series of financial establishments that would become National Bank Financial Group is born.

May 1860

Banque Nationale opens for business in the offices of the Caisse d’économie de Notre-Dame de Québec on Saint-Jean Street in Quebec City. Some members of the anglophone bourgeoisie participate in the Bank’s share capital, but francophones retain exclusive control and hold all seats on the Board of Directors with Ulric-Joseph Tessier, lawyer and Member of the Legislative Assembly serving as Chairman.


The rival Banque Jacques Cartier is established in the same way in Montreal. It goes through a reorganization in 1900, changing its name to The Provincial Bank of Canada and gradually setting up a network of offices throughout Quebec and in some regions of Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.


Following a fire, Banque Nationale sets up permanent residence on rue Saint-Pierre, which later becomes Quebec City's banking district.


The Banque d’Hochelaga is founded in Montreal. Despite modest beginnings, by the turn of the century it is expanding rapidly. Following the First World War, Banque Nationale, The Provincial Bank of Canada and the Banque d’Hochelaga are all successful in serving the same Quebec market, and competition is strong. It is publicly suggested that merging these banks would make them more effective in promoting the economic development of Quebec.

1878 & 1885

The Bank registers losses as a result of difficulties caused by economic crises.


A severe recession shakes Banque Nationale in the early 1920s. Negotiations for a merger with the Banque d’Hochelaga lead to an agreement creating the Banque Canadienne Nationale, later known in English as the Bank Canadian National (BCN). The success of this merger is due in part to assistance provided by the Province of Quebec through special legislation. The Provincial Bank declines an invitation to join forces with the other two banks.

BCN and The Provincial Bank safely weather Depression hardships, as does the entire Canadian banking system.


Working closely with other banks, Bank Canadian National launches Chargex, the first credit card to be issued by a Canadian bank.


As a result of the 1924 merger, Bank Canadian National is twice the size of its closest competitor The Provincial Bank, giving it greater prestige and faster growth. The Provincial Bank takes on a more aggressive character and eventually takes over several other institutions. In 1970, it merges with The People’s Bank, a commercial bank that had been established in 1968 to continue the work of the much-respected Quebec Savings Bank itself founded more than a century earlier.


Instituting a national expansion program, The Provincial Bank also takes over the Toronto-based Unity Bank of Canada, and in 1979 acquires Laurentide Financial Corporation Ltd. of Vancouver, a well-known Canadian finance company.


The Provincial Bank of Canada (soon to merge with Bank Canadian National to create National Bank) joins forces with Bell Canada to construct two immense office towers—to become the Head Offices of both companies—on de La Gauchetière street in downtown Montreal.

November 1979

By the late 1970s, Bank Canadian National and The Provincial Bank have grown into major banks with assets of nine and six billion dollars respectively. Although both still have a large part of their operations concentrated in Quebec, they've been actively developing business nationally and internationally over the preceding decade. At this point, they agree to combine forces to form National Bank of Canada in what is one of the largest bank mergers in history.

The newly-formed bank eliminates duplication, reduces expenses and increases volume in its traditional markets. By uniting the substantial resources at its disposal, National Bank is better able to compete with other major Canadian and international banks in providing first-quality banking and financial services to satisfy a wide range of client needs.


National Bank moves into its new Head Office building at 600 de La Gauchetière West in Montreal.


National Bank acquires The Mercantile Bank of Canada. This transaction helps it strengthen its presence in the commercial loans market and accelerates its plans to expand into Ontario and Western Canada. In 1987 following the deregulation of financial services that had started in this period, National Bank begins to establish subsidiaries and makes acquisitions in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management, as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. These transactions also help the Bank grow outside Quebec in selected niche markets.


National Bank Securities Inc. is founded to provide discount brokerage, mutual fund and immigrant investor services.


The brokerage firm Lévesque Beaubien becomes a National Bank subsidiary. A year later, Lévesque Beaubien merges with Geoffrion Leclerc to become Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion.


National Bank merges the activities of its wholly-owned National Bank Leasing Inc.subsidiary with its own operations.


National Bank sells its lease financing operations to GE Capital and acquires the assets ofGeneral Trust of Canada, a company specializing in trust activities since 1927.


National Bank, through its subsidiary Natbank, opens its first U.S. branch in Pompano Beach, Florida.


A second Natbank branch and head office are opened in Hollywood, Florida. National Bank also launches National Bank Life Insurance Company.


National Bank acquires two Ontario trust companies, Family Trust Corporation and The Municipal Savings and Loan Corporation. It founds National Bank Financial Services (Investments) Inc., as well as the subsidiary NBC Clearing Services Incorporated.


On August 31st National Bank assets exceed $50 billion.


To be accessible to as many clients as possible and to remain a technology leader, National Bank launches its Web site. It also concludes an agreement to acquire a US $75 million stake in an investors' group led by the firm Infisa S.A. with a view to investing in banks as well as brokerage, insurance and pension fund management firms in a number of Latin American countries.


National Bank and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec join forces to create Alter Moneta, a lease financing company.


National Bank concludes its purchase of First Marathon, a Toronto-based brokerage firm. First Marathon and the Bank's subsidiary Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion Inc. merge their operations to form National Bank Financial, a new Canadian investment-services company. The Bank also creates a new subsidiary, AssurNat Management Inc., to offer general insurance directly to retail clients in Quebec.

The Bank launches National Bank Discount Brokerage Inc. to take over the InvesTel discount brokerage service. National Bank Securities, which until then has administered InvesTel, is now free to concentrate exclusively on the National Bank Mutual Funds family.


In order to standardize its brand image with consumers, National Bank continues its strategy of including the National Bank name with the name of its various subsidiaries. AssurNat changes its name to Assurances Banque Nationale, and General Trust of Canada subsidiary becomes National Bank Trust.


National Bank Financial, a National Bank subsidiary, acquires the U.S. based investment bank Putnam Lovell Group Inc. These two organizations now operate as a single business unit under the marketing banner of Putnam Lovell NBF through offices in New York, Toronto, and London.

National Bank also acquires mutual fund manager and distributor Altamira. The acquisition of this leading brand name significantly expands National Bank's presence outside Quebec in the area of wealth management, doubles its mutual funds under management, broadens its offering of products and services and increases profitability.


National Bank assets exceed $100 billion.

March 2006

Computershare acquires the shareholder management services of National Bank Trust.

June 2007

Réal Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer since 2002, retires. He is succeeded by Louis Vachon, former President and Chief Operating Officer.


National Bank adopts its National Bank Financial Group identity to better communicate its evolution and scale as an integrated group that provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, and that offers specialized services elsewhere in the world. National Bank Financial Group offers a full array of banking services, including corporate and investment banking. It's an active player on international markets and through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management, as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. National Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in Canada and the leading bank in Quebec where it is the partner of choice among small and medium-sized enterprises.

National Bank Financial Group has branches in almost every Canadian province as well as numerous representative offices, subsidiaries and partnerships, through which it can serve clients in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world.