The Farmers and Mechanics Branch of Riggs Bank

View of the Former Riggs Bank at 1201 Wisconsin Ave NW, at the corner of M St NW and Wisconsin Ave NW in Georgetown.

Riggs Bank is the oldest continuously operating bank in Washington DC since 1836 when William Wilson Corcoran opened a note brokerage house. In 1840, he entered into a partnership with George Washington Riggs, Jr. offering checking and depositing services. Corcoran & Riggs Bank became an official depository of the U.S. treasury, began overseas transactions and helped finance Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph in 1845, and the Mexican War in 1847. Corcoran retired in 1854 and the firm became Riggs & Company. George Riggs led the 1867 syndicate that raised $7.2 million in gold bullion for the Alaska Purchase. In the 1920s, Riggs National Bank introduced savings accounts, opened a trust department, and purchased two other local banks, creating a branch banking network. In 1930, the firm acquired the Famrers of and Mechanics Bank of Georgetown, a congressionally chartered bank established in February 1814, which helped finance the War of 1812. After several notable scandals dealing with the embassy business in the early 2000s, Riggs Bank was bought by PNC for $779 million on July 16, 2004.

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