The National Bank of Commerce (now Huntington Banks) was founded in 1918 in Nitro as the Citizens Bank of Nitro. In 1920, the bank moved to Charleston and was renamed the State Street Bank. Two years later, the name was changed to the Bank of Commerce, and in 1930 it became a national bank, the National Bank of Commerce. In 1964, the bank purchased the old Kanawha County library property and in 1968 built the 17-story building then known as Commerce Square. This now houses Huntington Banks at the corner of Lee and Dickinson streets.
John E. McDavid of the National Bank of Commerce was among the leaders of the Independent Bankers Association, which had been formed in the 1970s to oppose branch banking, mergers, and bank holding companies. This effort was unsuccessful; nonetheless, the National Bank of Commerce prospered under the new banking rules. By 1990, West Virginia had 69 bank holding companies and 134 subsidiaries. The National Banc of Commerce Company was among the state’s largest bank holding companies. In 1991, the bank changed its name to Commerce Bank. At that time, it operated 27 full-service offices in ten West Virginia counties, including offices in many Kroger grocery stores.
Commerce Bank became Huntington Banks when it was purchased by Huntington Bancshares in 1993. Huntington Banks also purchased CB&T Financial Corporation of Fairmont. Huntington Banks first entered West Virginia in 1989 when it acquired First National Bank of Morgantown. It later purchased Peoples Bank of Martinsburg. With the mergers complete, Huntington became the third-largest bank holding company in West Virginia, with 27 offices in 2004. Huntington Banks was not named for the city of Huntington and did not originate there. It opened in 1866 in Columbus, Ohio, as W. Huntington & Company. In 1905, it was incorporated as the Huntington National Bank of Columbus.
The National Bank of Commerce recently operating in West Virginia had no connection to the earlier bank of the same name. The National Commerce Bancorp of Memphis, entered West Virginia in 1999. At first known as First Market Bank, the West Virginia locations adopted the name National Bank of Commerce in 2000 and became SunTrust in 2004.
Last Revised on October 21, 2010