Financial History Issue 116 (Winter 2016) | Page 36

Trust This Bank By Bob Watt What is the difference between a trust company and a bank? The short answer today is: there is no difference. However, as recently as 100 years ago there was a considerable difference between the two types of financial institutions in the United States. Trust companies were specialized banking institutions that have since vanished or evolved into commercial banks. Commercial banks now provide the same services that made trust banks unique in the United States for about 90 years. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, trust c