The Bank of Athens was founded in Athens, Greece in 1893 with Greek, French and English capital.
A key figure in the early years of the bank was Jean Pesmatzoglou, an Alexandrian private banker who merged his bank with the Bank of Athens, became chairman in 1896, and formed an alliance with Banque de L’Union Parisienne in 1904. Pesmatzoglou’s bank became the Bank of Athens branch in Alexandria, Egypt, where there was a large community of Greeks.
In 1895 branches were established in London, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Khartoum in the Sudan. In 1902 a second branch in England was established in Manchester. By 1910 the Bank of Athens had added branches in Crete at Chania, Candia, and Rethymno, and Trebizond and Samsoun in the Ottoman Empire.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Greece came under Axis control. During the Axis occupation of Greece, Dresdner Bank assumed oversight of the Bank of Athens.
After the War, in 1947 the Bank of Athens founded the South African Bank of Athens to serve Greeks residing in South Africa. This bank continues to operate as a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece.
In 1953 the Bank of Athens merged with the National Bank of Greece to form the National Bank of Greece and Athens. Later the name reverted to the National Bank of Greece.
The Bank of Athens used handstamped overprints in a diamond shape as a security endorsement for their stamps.