Skip to main content
Home / The Alpha Bank Historical Archives / History Collection / Brief history of Alpha Credit Bank

Brief history of Alpha Credit Bank

Ad announcing Credit Bank’s new international name, 1994

In 1994 Credit Bank announced it would operate internationally as “Alpha Credit Bank”. A few months later, it was announced it would operate in Greece under the same name in Greek. The word “Alpha”, first used in 1981, was now established as a component that would be increasingly used in group undertaking names and bank products. 

Full-page print media ad to announce Credit Bank’s new international name. The title reads “Credit Bank is now ALPHA CREDIT BANK all over the world.” 

This is followed by an informative text on Credit Bank’s history, wrapped around a small map of Europe. 

At the bottom of the page, the word Mazi (Greek for “together”) appears alongside the bank logo.

How it all began 

In 1994 Credit Bank first announced its new international name, “Alpha Credit Bank”, and, a few months later, the Greek version of the same name for its local operations.  

The word “Alpha” was first used in 1981 in the name of the newly-founded subsidiary Alpha SA Organisation and Computerisation Research Consultants. It was gradually adopted as a component in the names of group undertakings and bank products. 

In its 5 years of operation under this name (1994-1999), Alpha Credit Bank reached major achievements and ranked first among Greek private banks. 

A year of outstanding performance 

In 1994 Alpha Credit Bank performed above the European average. 

In the same year it acquired Commercial Bank of London, formerly Commercial Bank of the Near East, and renamed it Alpha Bank London. The bank was previously owned by the heirs of Stratis Andreadis. 

Alpha Credit Bank also joined the Bank of Cyprus to found ABC Factors, the first factoring company in Greece. The company was soon to become an industry leader.  

Last, Alpha Credit Bank founded Alpha Credit Insurance Brokerage to the end of insuring the group undertakings’ insurable assets. At the same time, the bank sought to better organise its network in the insurance industry and increase its scope of operations. 

The new brand taking the lead 

In 1995 Alpha Credit Bank adopted a highly aggressive strategy in the mortgage industry. 

In the same year the planning for the new corporate identity was completed. The new name and colours were strong markers of the bank’s Greek identity. They represented the drive, scope and sheer number of services offered by Alpha Credit Bank and its group of undertakings. 

The bank also became the exclusive issuer in Greece of American Express, a globally recognised credit card product. 

At the same time Alpha Credit Bank started to promote innovative bancassurance programmes in the Greek insurance market. 

New ventures: shipping and Southeast Europe 

In 1997 Alpha Credit Bank ventured into new waters by opening a dedicated branch in Piraeus, the busy port of Athens, to cater to the maritime financing sector. 

At the same time, it continued its expansion beyond Greece with a new branch in Tirana, Albania. Another 3 branches followed in the same country in the cities of Durrës, Elbasan and Gjirokastër.  

In 1998 the bank acquired Lombard Natwest Bank Ltd in Cyprus. The new acquisition became part of the group under the name Alpha Bank Limited, which changed in 2007 to Alpha Bank Cyprus. Lombard Natwest Bank Ltd had ranked 4th among Cypriot banks, with a market share of 5% and 24 branches.  

In 1999 it acquired Kreditna Banka a.d. Skopje, which was later renamed Alpha Bank a.d. Skopje.  

Going global, going public 

In an ongoing effort to reach new markets globally, the group established the Alpha Finance US Corporation. This move gave them access to the New York market for the promotion of Greek shares and bonds. 

Alpha Credit Bank’s impressive growth rate was, of course, reflected in its share price. In 1997 it ranked 1st among all Greek banks.  

A new bank for the new millennium 

In 1999 Alpha Credit Bank acquired Ionian and Popular Bank. The ensuing privatisation was the largest yet in the Greek corporate world.  

The merger went through in an extremely short time. The absorption of Ionian Bank by Alpha Credit Bank was completed at the dawn of the new millennium.  

The resulting enlarged bank was, and still is, Alpha Bank.

Advertising the new name 

The new global name “Alpha Credit Bank” announced through this print media ad encompassed 115 years of history.  

The text read: “The Alpha component added to the Credit Bank’s name is a link to the Alpha undertakings in the Group as well as to the range of Alpha products and services that establish the Bank as a pioneer of technological innovation.” 

Alpha Credit Bank as a promoter of culture 

Alpha Credit Bank’s contribution to the modernisation of Greek banks cannot be disputed. As an added bonus, however, the bank’s sponsorship strategy supported significant efforts in the cultural sector. 

In 1997 it was the main sponsor of “The Glory of Byzantium”, a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition celebrated art from the golden age of Byzantium, from 843 to 1261 CE. More than 350 items from over 20 countries were displayed.  

Alpha Credit Bank in our publications 

More information on Alpha Credit Bank is available in With Wisdom and Vision: ALPHA BANK, 19th – 21st Century, academic advisor: Kostas Kostis. The publication narrates the history of Alpha Bank, from founder J. F. Costopoulos’ first commercial ventures in the 19th century through to the present day. It also includes a wealth of unpublished photographic material, mainly from the Alpha Bank Historical Archives.  

Buy the publication With Wisdom and Vision: ALPHA BANK, 19th – 21st Century on the Alpha Bank e-shop. 

The Alpha Bank Historical Archives are not open to the public. 

Research visits can be organised upon request. 

Contact us to request a visit.