Established on 28 May 1946 as the Banca Centrale di Credito Popolare, the bank’s aim in the years following the end of WWII was to provide medium and long term lending to small and medium-sized businesses.
Centrobanca was set up as a Special Credit Institution (Istituto di Credito Speciale) at the behest of the ‘banche popolari’ (co-operative banks) and its foundation belongs to the category of similar initiatives that led, for example to the creation of Mediobanca and, before that, of Efibanca, through which the short term credit banks sought access to a means of providing medium and long term loans.
Partly because of its origination by the ‘banche popolari’ and partly due to the nature of its activities Centrobanca contributed significantly to the Post-war reconstruction of Italy and its subsequent economic and industrial development. For example, it is very significant that during the years of reconstruction, the institute was the first Italian lending intermediary to issue, as part of an agreement, funds made available by the American authorities for the purposes of ‘production loans’.
Over the following decades the bank’s activity was expanded from simple lending activity to other product categories offered and economic sectors serviced, while it kept its focus on medium sized corporate clients and continued to invest in the cultivation of long-term relationships with businesses.
The changes in the law and the evolution of the Italian banking market that took off in the 1990’s, favoured the combination of banks into ever larger banking Groups. In 2000 Centrobanca was integrated into Gruppo Banca Popolare di Bergamo and in 2003 followingthe merger of the latter with Banca Popolare Commercio e Industria and the Banca Popolare di Luino e Varese S.p.A., it became part of Gruppo BPU.
Following the merger of Gruppo BPU and Gruppo Banca Lombarda in 2007, Centrobanca became the Corporate and Investment Bank of UBI Banca,the Unione di Banche Italiane S.c.p.A.".