Founded in 1894 in Milan with the contribution of German, Austrian and Swiss capital, Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) for over a century was an important component of the Italian banking system and the Bank with the greatest presence abroad. After having established, in joint venture with two French banks, a company for South America, in 1911 BCI inaugurated in London the first branch abroad of an Italian bank, followed by the branch in New York and as time passed by more and more numerous branches and equity investments in various Countries worldwide.
Until the beginning of the Thirties, BCI also operated as an investment bank, acquiring equity investments in industrial companies.
In 1933 IRI (the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction) acquired control of the Bank which, three years later, with the issue of the Banking Law, became a short-term bank.
The following year, in 1937, together with Banco di Roma and Credito Italiano, BCI was designated "Banca d'Interesse Nazionale" (Bank of National Interest), as it already had branches in at least thirty provinces. With the two banks, in the years following World War II, BCI founded Mediobanca, of which it held an 8.9% stake.
In the Sixties the Bank based in Piazza della Scala further expanded its foreign network and, in Italy, acquired control of Banco di Chiavari e della Riviera Ligure and of Banca di Legnano. At the beginning of the Eighties BCI founded Banca Commerciale Italiana of Canada and Banca Commerciale Italiana (Suisse). In the centenary from its foundation, Banca Commerciale Italiana was privatised. Following a tender offer, made by Banca Intesa and completed in December 1999, Banca Commerciale Italiana was incorporated in the new Group.
In May 2001 BCI was merged with Banca Intesa and took the name of IntesaBci.