Carige is the abbreviation of Cassa di Risparmio di Genova, the original name of Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia, founded in 1846 in Genoa. The name change took place in 1967. Until the 1980s, the network of Cassa consisted only of the branches open in three provinces of the region Liguria, in addition to one in Turin, one in Milan, and the shares in Mediocredito ligure, in whose foundation it had participated in 1953, and in Istituto di Credito Fondiario della Liguria, founded in 1967. At the end of the 1980s, Carige created three companies in the financial sector: Columbus Leasing, Columbus Factoring, and Columbus Domestic. On the 1st of December, 1991, Cassa di Risparmio di Genova became a limited company, by taking the name of Banca Carige S.p.A., organised in a multifunctional credit group headed by the Bank itself, and composed of the aforementioned companies, Centro Fiduciario S.p.A., and building societies. Mediocredito Ligure and Istituto di Credito Fondiario della Liguria merged into Banca Carige in 1993. In 1991, the Bank became a bank-insurance company by stipulating an agreement of collaboration with the insurance company Gruppo d’Assicurazioni La Basilese, thus becoming a minority shareholder in companies controlled by the Swiss group, Levante assicurazioni and Vita nuova. The share turned into majority in 1997, when the Swiss group became shareholder of Banca Carige. In that same occasion, the Bank took also control of Norditalia assicurazioni, then merged with Levante assicurazioni. Between 1993 and 1999, it took over, step by step, 95.9% of Cassa di Risparmio di Savona, together with the connected Ligure Leasing and Immobiliare Carisa S.r.l.. Meanwhile, in 1994, Carige transformed its organisational model into a “universal bank”, that is to say by operating in the short, medium and long term. In January 1995, Carige was the first mutual savings bank to be listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 1999, 51% of Banca del Monte di Lucca was taken over. In 2000, 21 branches of Banco di Sicilia in the provinces of Palermo and Trapani, and, in the following year, 61 branches of the group Gruppo Banca Intesa in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, in Rome, Puglia and Sicily were bought out. The Group Banca Carige ranked 17th in the Mediobanca 2000 ranking list of Italian banking groups. In 2004, the Group increased its presence in Tuscany thanks to the takeover of Cassa di Risparmio di Carrara S.p.A.. In the same year, an historical private bank joined Gruppo Banca Carige, too: Banca Cesare Ponti. Moreover, in 2004 the savings management company Carige Asset Management SGR was founded: the management of financial products was assigned to it. In 2008, two significant takeovers took place: 79 branches belonging to Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo in the region Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Sardinia; 40 branches, instead, of the Gruppo Unicredit in the region Lazio, Sicily, Emilia, Veneto and Umbria. The last increase in size took place in 2010 through the takeover of 22 branches belonging to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
Banca Carige has always tried to distinguish itself for its orientation towards innovation. Indeed, it has been the first bank to open a fully automated branch, to transform Cassa di Risparmio into a limited company listed on the Stock Exchange, to establish a branch dedicated to immigrant customers, to create an integrated network of banking and insurance outlets operating nationwide, to set up a web point for its customers, to adopt a portable digital signature, and lastly, to issue a cash card with a microchip valid throughout Europe.
Today, Gruppo Banca Carige is one of the main Italian banking, financial, insurance and social welfare groups, with more than one thousand branches across the country, and around two million clients.
Furthermore, the Group promotes initiatives to increase the value of the artistic, historical and anthropological heritage, first of all that of the region Liguria, and of its social life. Publishing, art collecting, and collaboration in the realisation of cultural events are the three main ways in which Carige has expressed its activity of cultural promotion, also by encouraging the scouting of new areas to be studied.