The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited is one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups. It operates in 32 countries around the world, including 19 in Africa.
The bank now known as Standard Bank was formed in 1962 as a South African subsidiary of the British overseas bank Standard Bank, under the name Standard Bank of South Africa.
The bank’s origins can be traced to 1862, when a group of businessmen led by John Paterson formed a bank in London, initially under the name Standard Bank of British South Africa. The bank started operations in 1863 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and soon after opening it merged with several other banks including the Commercial Bank of Port Elizabeth, the Colesberg Bank, the British Kaffrarian Bank and the Fauresmith Bank.
It was prominent in financing and development of the diamond fields of Kimberley in 1867. The word “British” was dropped from the title in 1883. When gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand, the bank expanded northwards and on 11 October 1886 the bank started doing business in a tent at Ferreira’s Camp (later to be called Johannesburg), thus becoming the first bank to open a branch on the Witwatersrand gold fields. On 1 November 1901 a second branch was opened in Eloff Street of Johannesburg.
Until 1962 the British bank was formally known as the Standard Bank of South Africa, although by then its operations spread across Africa. When the South African operations were formed into a subsidiary in 1962, the parent changed its name to Standard Bank Limited, and the South African subsidiary took its parent’s previous name.