1906, an unknown Italian young emigrate in San Francisco, California, with his handcart placed in the middle of the worst earthquake and fire that shocked the United States, when still the smoke was rising from the ruins, he initiate to lend money to the people for the reconstruction of their homes.
He was trusting in their word!
So, home mortgages, auto loans, installment credit – they may be taken for granted today, but before this son of Italian immigrants came along, such things didn’t exist. Amadeo Peter Giannini – A.P. to his friends – revolutionized the banking world by focusing on “the little people.” Giannini passed away in 1949 at the age of 79. By that time, the bank he had founded, the Bank of America, had become the largest bank in the world, with $7 billion in assets and more than 525 branches in over 300 American cities. Today, Giannini stands out as one of TIME Magazine’s Builders and Titans of the 20th century – the only banker to make this list of the century’s most 100 important people.
He never dreamed of being a banker when he was a child. A son of poor immigrants, Giannini helped build the first national system of banks for the ordinary person, all the while fueling California’s economic development and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.
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