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A.P. Giannini and the Bank of America

by Nash, Gerald D.

  • ISBN: 9780806124612
  • ISBN10: 080612461X

A.P. Giannini and the Bank of America

by Nash, Gerald D.

  • List Price: $26.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publish date: 12/01/2008
  • ISBN: 9780806124612
  • ISBN10: 080612461X
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Description: This fast-paced biography of Bank of America founder A. P. Giannini affords an intriguing glimpse into the life of one of the world's most creative bankers. In 1904, after a successful career in wholesale produce and real estate in San Francisco's North End, Giannini began building the tiny Bank of Italy into the Bank of America, one of the world's largest financial institutions at the time of his death in 1949. A. P. Giannini's career was central to the development of the early-twentieth-century West. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 he was the only banker with funds on hand to finance the rebuilding of the city - because he personally had rescued the contents of his bank vault before the fire reached downtown. When World War I created new markets for California's farmers, shipbuilders, and small manufacturers, Giannini expanded branch banking throughout the state to meet their financial needs. Between the wars he continued to expand throughout the United States and overseas, establishing the West as a financial center independent of eastern financial interests even as the Great Depression threatened his financial empire. Giannini initiated branch banking in the United States and was its chief advocate. To attract the immigrants who were his first depositors, he moved bank officers from splendid isolation upstairs down into the lobby, moved tellers out from behind bars, and expanded banking hours to evenings and the weekend. Always willing to help new industries, he not only financed major motion pictures but also made automobile loans. Throughout his career, Giannini fought and cajoled bank regulators and such industry giants as J. P. Morgan, Jr., to expand bank services toworking people throughout the American West and, eventually, the whole United States. Historian Gerald D. Nash presents a full picture of this dynamic western financier, from Giannini's roots in the Italian immigrant community to his personal ties with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a teenager working fifteen hours a day for his stepfather's fruit commission business and equally as a seventy-year-old in active "retirement", A. P. showed a remarkable drive to be number one without compromising his honesty or is sympathetic treatment of the "little guy", who, he said, was his gigantic bank's best customer.
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