1873 - 1961
Established in 1873 in Toronto by a group of businessmen, The Imperial Bank of Canada was one of the 28 banks established in the seven years following Confederation. By December of 1874, the Provisional Board was formed to raise the required capital. Of the 432 shareholders, only 160 resided in Toronto. The first office opened for business in Toronto in March of 1875. With the absorbtion of The Niagara District Bank the same year, branches were acquired elsewhere in Ontario.
The new branches were opened very cautiously. After 10 years the bank had 10 branches, including two in the West. In 1886 a branch was established in Calgary, and in 1891 another opened in Edmonton. For some years the Alberta branch was the most northerly bank in Canada. By 1895 there were 12 branches in the West and 20 in the East. In 1899, attracted by lumbering and mining activity, the bank opened its first branch in northern Ontario. The Imperial Bank of Canada absorbed The Wyeburg Security Bank in 1931 extending its operations into Saskatchewan, and in 1956 it absorbed the Barclay's Bank (Canada).
In February of 1961, the government announced that it had approved an amalgamation agreement between The Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada, the new institution to be known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. In due course the agreement received the required approval of the shareholders of both banks and the merger took effect in June of 1961. At this time, the two banks had 1,242 branches and total assets in excess of $4 billion. Under the agreement, shareholders of The Canadian Bank of Commerce received one share in the new bank for each share already in possession and those of the Imperial Bank of Canada received seven shares in the new bank for each six shares held in the Imperial Bank of Canada.