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Butterfield: Bermuda's first and largest independent bank

With a history that parallels Bermuda’s development, The Bank of N. T. Butterfield & Son Limited
(Butterfield) traces its origins to the Butterfield family, who farmed the island in the 1600s.


In 1758, Nathaniel Butterfield set up a merchant-trading business in goods ranging from cedar slabs to
port wine. He was succeeded by his son, Nathaniel T. Butterfield, who carried on the business, expanding
it to offer financial services. In 1858 the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son was founded as Bermuda’s first


Nathaniel Augustus Butterfield, son of N.T. Butterfield, assumed control of the banking side of the family
business when his father died. In 1904 the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son was incorporated by an Act of
Parliament, and the bank became a public institution, ready to meet the needs of the island’s expanding


By 1923 the bank had grown to a staff of 13 and moved to new premises at the corner of Front Street
and Burnaby Hill. During this time the bank supported the growing tourist industry and helped facilitate
the island’s developing infrastructure.


With the Second World War the tourist trade disappeared but the wartime economy contributed to the
bank’s expansion. In 1941, Butterfield Bank opened the St. George’s Branch to serve the financial needs
of military personnel.


After the war, tourism again became Bermuda’s primary source of income, and it was a time of growth
and redistribution of capital. By 1951, the bank had increased its number of shareholders by 42 percent,
making it the largest Bermudian-owned and held company in terms of per capita owners.


In the 1960s, offshore business began making a substantial contribution to the Island’s economy.
Butterfield established new companies to meet growing demand, including Butterfield Mortgage & Finance
Company, Butterfield Management Company Limited and Butterfield Executor & Trustee Company.  It
also opened offices in the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands.


By 1970, Bermuda had become an important offshore financial centre and Butterfield developed services
to meet the needs of international business. Local business was also growing and Butterfield opened its
Somerset Banking Centre in 1970 to meet demand.


During the 1980s Butterfield continued to increase assets and earnings, undertaking further expansion   with the acquisition of the Bermuda National Bank, new overseas offices and the building of the Rosebank Centre.


In the 1980s Butterfield installed a network of Automatic Teller Machines, beginning with the first ATM in
Bermuda and launched Bermuda’s first Internet banking service in 2001. Butterfield’s development
strategy continues to enhance its services in order to meet the changing needs of its customers.


Today, the Butterfield Group offers a full range of community banking services in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, encompassing retail and corporate banking and treasury activities. Butterfield also provides private banking, asset management and personal trust services from its headquarters in Bermuda and subsidiary offices in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and the United Kingdom. In Singapore, Switzerland and The Bahamas, Butterfield provides personal trust and company services.






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