Meet Capitol One, which was North Fork, which was ...
Well, another New York area bank name officially bites the dust. The latest entrant into the halls of history? North Fork. The Melville-based company was purchased by credit card giant Capital One in 2006, which only in the past few days got around to switching the branding on branches.
We remark on this change not so much because we have any particular sense of nostalgia for North Fork, but because it is simply another home-grown banking fixture that has disappeared.
Of course, long-timers Chase and Citibank are inescapable presences on city streets -- Chase's bold circa 1960 logo has never been more prominent, or more blue -- but many other banks that were once also inescapable have shuffled off.
Most of these vanished banks are around in the sense that they were absorbed by larger concerns, some of whom have been swallowed by even bigger fish. Here's but a sampling of the names that were once all around the city:
Bowery -- Joe DiMaggio was the longtime spokesman. The bank, chartered in 1834, disappeared in 1992, along with the ads featuring Joltin' Joe. It became Home Savings of America, which was swallowed by Greenpoint, which was swallowed by North Fork. And now North Fork is Capitol One ... you get the idea.
Chemical -- Founded in 1823, this titan was absorbed by Chase Manhattan in 1995.
Dollar Dry Dock -- Founded in 1848, this bank got creamed by the last real-estate debacle in the early 1990s, and most of its customers were sent along to Emigrant Savings, which is still going strong.
Crossland Savings -- Crossland's DNA survives in HSBC. Crossland's parent was sold in 1995 to Republic National Bank, which HSBC later absorbed.
Dime -- The road to riches starts with the Dime, went the old TV jingle. Washington Mutual absorbed this chain in 2002, but the logo survives as part of the corporate identity of Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh.
Marine Midland -- Originally from Buffalo, Marine Midland held on until it took the name of parent HSBC in 1998. Marine Midland's legacy survives in the celebrated modernist building that was once its headquarters, 140 Broadway, noted for the red "Cube" sculpture by Isamu Noguchi.
Anchor Savings Bank -- If you're of a certain age, your remember the ad slogan uttered by the bank's chairman and his wife: "Your Anchor banker, he understands; your Anchor banker, she understands." Anchor was absorbed by Dime in the 1990s.
For more on New York banking history, check here.
-- Rolando Pujol
Chemical memorabilia from eBay auction.