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CIBC celebrates 140 years of serving Canadians

    TORONTO, May 16 /CNW/ - 140 years ago this week, CIBC's predecessor bank,
The Canadian Bank of Commerce, opened the doors of its inaugural branch in
downtown Toronto. Before the end of that first year in 1867, an additional
three branches, in London, Barrie and St. Catharines, were added and the
company's assets had expanded to almost $3 million.
    From those early beginnings, CIBC has grown into a leading North American
financial institution with assets of more than $300 billion. Today,
approximately 40,000 employees serve the financial needs of 11 million clients
at 1053 Canadian branches and offices in Canada, the United States and around
the world.
    To mark this anniversary milestone and recognize the start of CIBC's
annual Diversity Month, CIBC will hold a lunchtime celebration in Toronto's
Commerce Court on June 1.
    This event will kickoff a month of client and community initiatives that
focus on diversity and culture.
    "A culturally diverse and inclusive workforce is one of CIBC's strongest
business assets," said Gerry McCaughey, CIBC's President and Chief Executive
Officer. "Employing people who are representative of the clients and the
communities we serve has been a critical part of our success during the last
140 years - and it will remain a key focus for us in the future."Here are some highlights from CIBC's history:

    1867 - Commerce opens first branch in Toronto.
    1870 - Commerce opens first branch in Montreal.
    1872 - Commerce opens New York Agency.
    1875 - Imperial Bank of Canada, CIBC's other founding bank, opens for
    1890 - Commerce opens new head office building at King and Jordan,
    1898 - Commerce opens Dawson, Yukon branch
    1901 - Amalgamation with Bank of British Columbia.
    1903 - Amalgamation with Halifax Banking Company.
    1905 - Adding machines are introduced in branches.
    1907 - Travellers cheques are introduced.
    1909 - Safety deposit boxes are installed in select branches.
    1920 - International expansion by The Commerce in the Caribbean and Latin
    1931 - Commerce Court North, Commerce's new head office, is opened on
           King Street in Toronto. It is the tallest building in the British
    1954 - Bank Act revision allows banks to issue mortgages and the Commerce
           establishes its first Mortgage Department.
    1955 - Introduction of drive-in banking at Commerce's Jane and Wilson,
           Toronto branch.
    1958 - The Commerce is the first Canadian bank to open a branch north of
           the Arctic Circle at Aklavik (later Inuvik).
    1961 - The Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merge to form the
           Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
    1964 - CIBC operates a floating branch along the North Shore of Quebec.
    1967 - 100th anniversary celebrations.
    1967 - An on-line savings system is launched. CIBC is first in Canada to
           introduce a computer that balances customers' savings account
    1968 - Chargex (later VISA) is introduced.
    1969 - CIBC introduces the first 24-hour cash dispensers, a first in
           Canada and a precursor to the ABM.
    1973 - Commerce Court in Toronto is opened
    1979 - Interbranch banking allows clients to bank at any computerized
    1984 - CIBC becomes first Canadian bank to offer a flexible mortgage
           payment plan so clients can select monthly, semi-monthly,
           bi-weekly or weekly payments.
    1987 - CIBC Securities Inc., a new subsidiary, is established. CIBC is
           the first bank in Canada to operate an investment dealer.
    1988 - CIBC purchases a majority interest in the stock brokerage firm of
           Wood Gundy and forms CIBC Wood Gundy Inc.
    1991 - CIBC and Air Canada join forces to create the CIBC Aerogold Visa
           Card which combines the features of Aeroplan and the advantages of
           a gold VISA card.
    1994 - CIBC Ombudsman for small business is appointed and is a first in
           Canadian banking industry.
    1998 - CIBC and Loblaws announce the creation of President's Choice
           Financial, which offers no-fee accounts, free cheques, and no-fee
           access to CIBC bank machines across Canada.

    For more information about CIBC, please visit
For further information:
For further information: Rob McLeod, (416) 980-3714