JOEL, OTTO J. (1856–1916), Italian banker of German origin. Joel was born in Danzig, East Prussia, the son of a lottery collector. As a young man he was sent to Italy for his health, stayed there, and became a successful banker and completely revamped the financial and industrial Italian life. Together with Federico Weil (1854–1919), and with the cooperation of German banks, he formed the Banca Commerciale Italiana in 1894. In 1908 he became its central manager, and eventually its managing director. Despite the fact that he had become an Italian citizen several years before World War I, Joel had to resign from active work at the bank in 1915 on account of his German descent, and a year later, although he remained a vice president, was forced to withdraw from the board of directors. Otto Joel's son, ALESSANDRO (1891–?), joined the Banca Commerciale Italiana in 1920. He became manager of the London branch, but severed his connections with the bank in 1932.
R. Garruccio, Minoranze in affari. La formazione di un banchiere: Otto Joel (1997).