How the Morgans became an American banking dynasty

Once modern-day Medicis, the Morgans were the bluest of blue-blooded banking dynasties. A century after the death of its legendary patriarch, the family name still carries prestige.

When the US was hit with a financial crisis in 1907, there was no Federal Reserve to act as lender of last resort to stem the crisis. But while a central bank didn't exist as such, that doesn't mean it didn't have a central banker.

John Pierpont Morgan, the most powerful titan on Wall Street, orchestrated a banking consortium that guaranteed the deposits of its weaker members. JP Morgan didn't invite, but summoned lesser lights to his court on 23 Wall Street to sort them out. He even summoned the US Treasury secretary to come see him; such was JP Morgan's power and prestige.

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