COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s acquisition of Bank One Corp. further loosens the ties Bank One had in the city where it was founded 136 years ago as a single downtown bank.

Bank One began as Sessions & Co. in 1868. It was renamed City National Bank & Trust following a 1929 merger and became one of the city's largest banking operations.

In 1967, the bank formed a holding company and began a series of mergers that turned it into a Midwestern powerhouse, changing its name to Bank One in 1979. Along the way it bought banks in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky and now has $290 billion in assets with 1,800 branches in 14 states.

The company has long been a pioneer in retail banking. It opened the nation's first drive-through banking window in 1950 and in 1966 marketed the first Visa cards, then known as BankAmericard, outside of California. In 1970, the bank installed what it called the first ATM in the country at a suburban Columbus branch.

When Bank One merged in 1998 with First Chicago NBD, it moved its headquarters to Chicago, but still employed more than 8,500 people in central Ohio for retail administration, mortgage and credit servicing, check processing and data services.


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