One of the progenitors of SBC and UBS AG. The bank was founded in 1856 in Basel as an underwriting syndicate for six different private banking houses, Bischoff zu St.Alban, Ehinger & Cie., J. Merian- Forcart, Passavant & Cie., J. Riggenbach and von Speyr & Cie. The name was changed to Basler Bankverien and the structure of a joint stock company adopted in 1871. A flurry of mergers occured in 1896, with Zuricher Bankverein to form the Basler and Zurcher Bankverein, with Schweizerische Unionbank, St. Gallen and finally with the Basler Depositen-Bank to create the Schweizerische Bankverein (Bankverein Suisse/Swiss Bankverein). The first London office was opened in 1898.
Further growth occured in 1906 and a branch in Geneva was created by acquiring Banque d'Espine, Fatio & Cie. In 1908 it acquired Fratelli Pasquali and its Chiasso headquarters. 1912 it expanded to Lausanne and Aigle by acquiring Banque d'Escompte et de Depots.
In 1917, Schweizerische Bankverein changed its non-german names to Swiss Bank Corporation/Societe de Banque Suisse/Societa de Banca Svizerra.
Bankverien was part of the syndicate that financed the Gotthard tunnel, and its chairman Dr. Karl Stehlin-Merlan sat on the board of the Gotthardbahn.
Chairmen of Bankverein
- Dr. Karl Stehlin-Merlan (1872-1881)
- J. J. Schuster-Burckhardt (1881-1901) was involved in the formation of the Banque de Mulhouse (france) and the Swiss and Italian central banks.
- Herman LaRoche-Burkhardt (1901-1906) was a passenger on the Titanic
- Alphons Simonius Blumer (1906-1920)