Twelve Big Ideas - Continental: The Big Bank With the Little Bank Inside

John M. Wolfe

Let me set the stage for you with a few background facts.

Continental is a big bank – the biggest in Chicago, the 7th largest in the country. Among the top twenty in the world. It has a big formal name – Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago. (That's a 10-second commercial all by itself!)

It has a wonderful reputation – with large corporations, with other banks, with the financial community, with wealthy individuals. And it does a lot of business in these areas. But, a few years ago, the bank's management thought it saw a relatively unexploited potential for additional business development – retail banking. The booming "middle millions" were making money faster than ever before. They were establishing savings accounts, writing checks, buying cars, buying homes as never before.