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Home > Business > Finance  
  Arthur Andersen
This Chicago native built his accounting and consulting firm into one of the world's largest.
  Milton Friedman
Milton FriedmanChampion of free-market economics, Friedman was a Nobel Laureate who did more to define public policy debate than any other economist in the 20th Century.
  George Smith
A decade before the Civil War, George Smith's money was better than legal tender - nearly three-quarters of the local "currency" had Smith's name on it.
  Arthur Young
One of old Chicago's most important bean-counters, he would be thrilled to calculate that today Ernst-Young has 100,000 employees and 670 locations in 140 countries.
  Jesse Binga
Founder of the first black-owned bank, Binga Bank, he became one of the richest African Americans in Chicago.
MB Financial Bank
RCF Economic & Financial Consulting, Inc.

Chicago Trader  
A trader uses a state-of-the-art electronic trading platform. The system uses handheld technology devices, called e-HHTs, and helps provide greater access to agricultural markets.

The rise of Chicago as one of the world's great cities was inextricably tied to the development of financial institutions and exchanges in the mid-19th Century. With unparalleled access to commodities, natural resources, and sophisticated transportation networks, the business leaders of early Chicago were instrumental in creating the mechanisms by which capital could be readily accessed and injected into the American marketplace. Without these financial innovations, Chicago would have been unable to capitalize on any of its natural advantages, and would today be but a shadow of its current self.

The Chicago Board of Trade was organized in 1848 as an affiliation of prominent businessmen seeking to establish the procedures, standard and infrastructure required for mass shipments of commodities. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called upon the Board to supply the Union Army with supplies, and they responded with innovations that eventually made the Chicago Board of Trade the world's first futures market. In 2008, the Board was purchased by the Chicago Merchantile Exchange, rejoining the two financial institutions as CME Group, Inc.

With the opening bell at 8:30 each morning, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange comes alive with a frenzy of trading resembling nothing so much as a Rugby scrum. With hands waving, men and women shouting, and traders standing atop tables, the Exchange has long been a favorite spectacle for visitors and an inspiration for Hollywood. The Windy City is also home to the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and the Chicago Stock Exchange.

The commercial banks and thrifts of the city have been instrumental in providing capital to businesses and consumers. Today, Chicago is home to many national - and international - banks offering an array of innovative financial products. Chicago continues to broaden its reach, looking to the Internet to further cement Chicago's role as one of the world's great financial centers.