Traditions for the Future
The officers of two longstanding banks – the Safe Deposit and Trust Company and Mercantile Trust & Deposit Company – merged forces to create Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Company in 1953. At the time, the new bank pledged to uphold the traditions of its predecessors.
Business leaders established the Safe Deposit and Trust Company and Mercantile Trust & Deposit Company in the years following the Civil War. Bank failures were common, so that the rapid emergence of these institutions as trusted repositories for people's valuables, dependable sources of credit, and managers of trusts was a boon to the city. Each bank lent money to local businesses, invested in industry, and helped build transportation networks in the South.
For fifty-four years, Mercantile has updated its banking services to meet its customers' needs and advance the commercial interests of Baltimore. Even with outside competition, Mercantile retained its position as a leader in customer service and community involvement.
In 1969, with two other local banks, Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Company formed Mercantile Bankshares Corporation as Maryland's first multi-bank holding company. The flagship subsidiary was Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Company, doing business as Mercantile Bank & Trust. During the next thirty-eight years, Bankshares grew to become a network of nearly two dozen locally managed and directed community banks throughout Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.