Amadeo Peter Giannini: The World’s Bigger Banker (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second part of the story of Amadeo Peter Giannini, an Italian emigrant who arrived in America still in his mother’s womb. Amadeo was born in 1870 in San José California, and starting without anything, in just 40 years he was able to create the world’s biggest bank.

At that time a socially liberal vision like this was common in the USA, where Ford, increased salaries of his employees, transforming them into potential buyers of his cars. And also in Italy, some illuminated industrials built houses for their own employees and subsidized schooling for their children.

The more that the deposits grew, the more Giannini offered loans and subsidies. And the incredible increase in deposits demonstrated that he was right which reached $700,000 in one year.

But for the other bankers in San Francisco liberal ethically innovative strategy seemed not only revolutionary but also dangerous and so they declared war on him. There were rumors that The Bank of Italy had difficulties and a lot of their clients went as low as to take their savings out of the bank. Amadeo who had also anticipated more difficult moments and had accumulated huge gold reserves, so he immediately put big tables outside the bank where he put the gold reserves and stacks of banknotes and the clients were then ashamed, in front of all the richness, to ask for their savings back.

In April 1906 the deposits surmounted a million dollars. And that was when the tragedy occurred. On the 18th of April 1906 an earthquake of biblical proportions destroyed San Francisco. There were aftershocks that transformed the city into a mass of smouldering ruins. The ones who survived the earthquake walked around the streets like ghosts, crying, praying and looting.

Giannini, along with his partners, used his step father’s fruit carts to transport Bank of Italy’s money and gold to a safe place which he hid in his semi destroyed fireplace in his house.

The other banks in the city not only lost a large part of their capital, due to fires, but also there account books, so they weren’t able to reopen for at least a month .

Amadeo Giannini, who knew every single client as well as their financial situation, opened his bank only after six days, creating a makeshift office in his brother’s half-destroyed house, who was a doctor. He hung out the burned sign which he had found. He also put a sign in plain view which he had painted during the night, which read: “Loans like before, more than what was given before”.

The new bank of Italy was literally mobbed with crowds of families affected by the disaster in need of everything, who withdrew their savings, or asked for loans. Giannini was happy to give money to whoever asked, without asking questions, only making a note of their names and the amount.

But that wasn’t enough.

After two days of the rush of the needy he left the makeshift office for his partners to manage and together with his stepfather he went to the other areas of the city, with a small cash box with money. . Amadeo went to the devastated areas of San Francisco, the tent camps, offering loans without interests and filled his pockets with papers signed by immigrants from all over the world, sometimes marked with a cross.

We can ask ourselves: how could Giannini loan all this money to everyone? How could he continue to go on? After only a few weeks the old clients came back who had withdrawn their savings from the bank. And as soon as the other banks opened , a lot of people withdrew their savings to bring it to the Giannini, the gentleman. Besides that, a lot of immigrants who had never been in a bank before, picked up all their savings in gold from the houses in ruins and decided to deposit them in the Bank of Italy.

Giannini became the emblem of reconstruction of San Francisco, not as much for the money but for the sense of security that he had transmitted, and for his optimism and his faith in the people who had lost everything. Amadeo gave people the desire and courage to try again, above all in the immigrant communities who irreversibly became Bank of Italy customers

In the poor area of North Beach, the Italian community became an important player in the reconstruction and North Beach became the centre of new business ventures and entrepreneurs in San Francisco. This experience convinced Amadeo Peter to be a banker for the rest of his life.

And he had incredible success. Giannini’s fame became a legend, his acts of good will were told al over the Pacific coast. With his faith in his courage and his moral integrity a stream of new clients from all over. Everyone wanted to deposit their money in the Bank of Italy.

The reconstruction of San Francisco, which was the main pacific port at the time, attracted a lot of small and big investors, and a lot of money was deposited in Giannini’s bank.

In 1909 a law went into effect in the USA that allowed a system of “branch banking”, or in other words the opening of branches in other cities.

Only a few bankers knew how to use the new law. Giannini went to the Atlantic coast and then to Canada, where the new system of banks was already in use.

As we have learned, until now the American banks worked only for the rich people, excluding immigrants and small farmers. But Giannini, who knew the situation of the small farmers of the Santa Clara Valley, he sensed that three could be a possibility of reciprocal interest for a bank that Is available to give incentives to small land owners.

He was able to convince the other members of the Bank of Italy to work towards this goal but he also wanted strong ties between the bank and people from the area. Assuming that among all of the people of the new banks that there would be a great number of artisans, tradesmen and local farmers.

The employees Also had to be local citizens and they had to speak many languages.

In 1909 the Bank of Italy opened his first branch in San José, his city of birth. In 1910 he bought two banks at San Francisco, in 1912 he bought another in at San Mateo. By the end of 1912 the deposits were much higher than $11.000.000 dollars and in 1913 Giannini opened another big branch in Los Angeles.

From 1916 until 1918 he opened many branches in the agricultural valleys of California, therefore extending credit to small farmers and the new emigrants.

A lot of bankers, including the most influential ones of the USA, where seriously worried because of the new tendency that Giannini had started and started a campaign to degrade him with the aim of isolating him.

Giannini understood the risk and decided to take control of the situation and he nominated himself president and put a lot of initiative into effect that that made him and the bank more solid.

In 1919 the Bank of Italy bought a bank in New York, and he named it Bancitaly Cooperation.

This institution was bought nine months after he bought “Banca dell’Italia Meridionale” , that later on was named “Bank of America and Italy”.

In July of 1919 the Bank of Italy subscribed to the Federal Riserve Sistem and the 1st of March 1927 it became nationalized.

In 1920 Giannini sensed the possibility of the developing the film industry, that up until that time was active mainly in New York. He sent his brother Attilio Giannini who left the medical profession, to dedicate himself not only in the Bancitaly cooperation but also in the emerging world of cinema.

But rather than focusing on the financial aspects, Amadeo paid attention to socio cultural importances that the film industry’s were proposing regarding the American conscience and behavior. Since the New York bankers that financed the films asked loan shark interest rates at around 20%, he decided to offer more reasonable rates-around 6%- for deserving authors that were not only for having fun, but also to propose quality social models

So, when Attilio came back from New York to tell his brother that he had met young talented comic artist, who was already successful in comedies, but that couldn’t find a financer for his project, Amadeo decided to give $50.000 to First National Distributors to make Charlie Chaplin’s

film “Il monello”.

The costs of the film could have cost much less, but Amadeo who wanted to get to know him personally, didn’t want him them to have to worry about the finances.

Within six weeks he made his money back on the film and following that his bank made enormous profits.

The event created an uproar and many other directors and producers asked to be financed, but Gianinno wasn’t interested only in commercial ventures with economical goals.

In 1922, the Bank of Italy had 61 branches. Considering the incredible expansion, the consultants of the bank wanted to offer him $50.000 a year above his salary. Amadeo who had already saved a fortune, of nearly $500,000, who was faithful to his principles, refused the offer, noting that whoever wanted to have more than half a million dollars should have run to a psychiatrist.

Between 1927 and 1929 the Bank of Italy issued with NATIONAL CURRENCY bills which were legal currency in the United States.

In the first month of 1928, in the era of financial euphoria, Giannini made revenues with his participation in the bank of Italy a million and a half dollars, but since he didn’t want to become to rich, he decided to give the total amount to the University of California for researching agricultural technology.

Seven years after the experience “Il monello”, Giannini became good friends with Walt Disney whom he believed to be a genius and he spent time with him discussing not only non verbal communication but the power of the images in communication.

After a decent success with the short film of Mickey Mouse, Giannini’s sensed that there were great possibilities for cartoons and he financed the first feature length Disneyfilm in color called “Snow White and The Seven Dwarves” Once again the film was much more successful than they had expected. Walt Disney became famous all over the world. Giannini was tired of making money and became the financial director of his friend’s company that was by now famous.

In 1930 the Bank of Italy was named “Bank of America National Trust and Saving Association”.

It’s important to note that, when the Bank of Italy closed it’s books and examined the suspended transactions, they realized that 96% of loans without guarantees were reimbursed by 96% of the total that was paid out, and so overall, considering the interest, the bank didn’t suffer any losses on loans given to the people that weren’t well off.

On the contrary, the big bankers that accepted only people with money, while in times of crisis had considerable losses. And they didn’t forgive Giannini’s foresightedness.

In 1931 Giannini had to deal with the most difficult event of his life. He got polio, and he was cured not only for the intense cures that he had undergone, but above all thanks to battle to not become excluded from Bank of America.

As soon as the rumors went around about his illness, a lot of enemies – lead by the Transamerican Elisha Walzer, by J.P Morgan and by members of the Federal Reserve, who were associated as being nasty vultures from Wall Street

Giannini’s reaction was absolutely energetic. Even considering his health conditions he actively took part in the battle to regain control of the bank, and faced with this problem, his health miraculously improved unexpectedly. He regained his strength in a time that couldn’t be explained by doctors, and with the support of many people who benefited, he regained control of the institution that he had created.

Amadeo Peter Giannini wasn’t particularly interested in the cinema. He liked only a few authors that through film told stories that improved people’s lives. He said that the fairy tales or parabolas- today we can call them fictions – were instruments good for transmitting values and traditions to new generations, and after Disney he helped another fairy tale creator Frank Capra.

Frank was a Sicilian who arrived with his family in California as a boy. He became an engineer and then lost his job because of the crisis in ’29 and after some variations of his fortune, he casually made his way to Hollywood where he discovered the world of cinema. He became Giannini’s friend there, who he became devoted to Giannini, because he saw his own father in Giannini.

Since there was a reciprocal admiration, in 1934 Amadeo financed his first successful film called “Once upon a night…”, and the collaboration continued in 1936 with “Happiness is coming” and in 1938 with “The eternal illusion”.

Frank and Amadeo loved to speak in Italian and often developed the scenes of the films together. Giannini loved Capra’s narration that exposed the dramatic situation in America- a reality based on competition, that justified the non interest of others and promoted climbing the social ladder – who originated a society that was conditioned by subtle power of mass media, where the economical lobby controlled politics, but with everything, it seemed like an offer of blackmail, even if this liberation came about often through a miracle like what happens in fairy tales. It’s a demonstration that it’s possible to escape from the nightmare, and that there is still space for dreams.

As mentioned earlier, Amadeo didn’t play up to the cinema world, but as an important banker he knew that in this world, he knew that he would have made a lot of money for the bank. Once again he called his brother Attilio from New York, and asked him to manage the cinema sector.

Between 1932, and 1952, Bank of America financed over 500 films, and invested over half a billion dollars.

However Amadeo Giannini wasn’t only fascinated by dreams of cinema.

In 1932, the “dreamer” Joseph Strass, designer of the Golden Gate , wasn’t able to find a financer for his project, had the inspiration to go to Giannini. And the winning card to convince Amadeo wasn’t the possible profit, but the conviction that the bridge could have helped the citizens of San Francisco to get out of the depressing economic situation that hung over the city.

Giannini financed his project with six million dollars and asserted that Bank of America had no interest in the project.

In the first half of the thirties Giannini got ready to fight the “Mc. Federal Act” a law that prohibited you from operating in more than one state.

In 1934 the Bank of America had 423 branches in 255 California cities.

On the 14th of January his son Lawrence Mario Giannini who Amadeo educated with his example, took the place of his father as the president of Bank of America, and Amadeo to stay close by accepted the position of being honorary president.

Giannini made unselfishness to be his primary profession. Besides giving credit to poverty stricken people, and to have given hope to who has lost it, Amadeo offered a large part of his earnings to social deeds, but without sounding the trumpets on philanthropy and patronage

In 1930 he created the GIANNINI FOUNDATION of agricultural economics, which he left to the University of California. The foundation had one goal: to favour the research aimed at developing rural resources and to increase the economical activities of California’s farmers. In 1945 he also created the GIANNINI FAMILY FOUNDATION, with the goal to promote the medical research.

During the 2nd World War California became the most important state for war production. The Bank of America financed the production of airplanes, ships, and heavy and lightweight weapons, It managed the payment of the soldiers and civil employees.

Amadeso Giannino gave his son Mario the responsibility to deal with Italians that were confined in prison camps, and to exert himself to try to avoid the imprisonment of other Italian Americans

Right after the war, Giannini, who always felt profoundly Italian, to the point that, even at an old age spoke often with the a dialect from Liguria that he learned from his mother, wanted the bank to help in efforts of reconstruction in Italy in first person.

He agreed with Arthur Schlesinger, the man responsible for the Marshall plan, to speed up the shipment of aid, that his bank would send the amount necessary without any interest, for all the shipments headed for Italy.

In October 1945, when Amadeo was seventy five years old, he left the Bank of America for good. He left all the drawers in his desk open, which he never closed anyway saying “I have nothing to hide”, just like “the bank has nothing to hide.”

At the same time he announced that the Bank of America had become the biggest bank in the world!.

At the age of eighty Amadeo Peter Giannini breathed calmly, and was comforted by the affection of his loved ones. When he died an accurate inventory was carried out of all of his assets, that came to exactly 489,278 dollars.

sacasino made a real revolution in the industry.

Car Sales on Finance – What You Need to Know

Buying a used or new vehicle on finance gives you the freedom to purchase what you want and pay the vehicle off in monthly instalments. Once you have completed all the payments, the vehicle becomes yours.

This can be very beneficial when it comes to working with a limited budget. Not everyone has the financial freedom to purchase a vehicle for cash, especially when looking at younger models which comes with all the latest technology and safety features.

One of the benefits to looking at car sales on finance is that you can trade in your current vehicle as a part exchange. This enables you to get a value on your current vehicle, which is deducted from the asking price of the new vehicle. This gives you a lower amount which needs to be financed, helping to reduce the monthly instalments and helping you match your monthly budget on what you can afford.

When looking at car sales on finance you get to make regular monthly payments for the vehicle, rather than paying the amount in one large sum. This gives you wider freedom to find what you are looking for. Further if you do your budget before you start shopping around, you will have indication on what you can afford to pay each month, if you qualify, you can buy a vehicle based on the monthly payment amount after trade in, rather than the overall price, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

In addition to this, you have the flexibility to determine how long you want to make your payments for. This is normally twelve to sixty months. Of course taking it over a longer period will mean you pay more interest, but your monthly repayments will be considerably less than if you only take the finance for twelve months. Be realistic in your decision, based on your current working situation and what you feel you can afford in the long term.

The car dealer you are looking at that offers car sales on finance should give you the ability to apply for credit either online or over the phone. This does require a credit check, so it may be worthwhile obtaining a copy of your credit report to identify what your score is. Don’t worry not everyone has a perfect score, but obviously the better it is the higher your chances are of obtaining the credit you need.

If you have a tarnished credit score due to problems years ago, advise the car dealer before going ahead with the application. Some car sales on finance do take this into consideration and are willing to provide finance to those with a poor credit rating.

Another thing you will find when choosing a reputable company offering car sales on finance is that you can enjoy an instant decision. Five minutes online or a quick phone call can give you the answer you need. If approved, you could be driving away in your new vehicle within the hour.

Always ensure that you only select a reputable car dealership that has built up a good name in the industry. You want a company that is going to provide you with a complete service, helping you find the best vehicle to meet your need with a flexible finance package that also suits your budget.

Do your research to learn as much about the company as possible. Double check the vehicle comes with some form of warranty and identify who they use for the credit solutions.

Read through the paperwork in detail before signing, ensuring you know what to expect and what your monthly repayments are moving forward.

Why You Should Get Periodic Home Inspections

Have you considered having a home inspection done? Home inspection is not just for the buyers and sellers of a home but can also be an invaluable resource for those who already own their own homes. Most people do not realize they should have a home inspection done every five to ten years as part of an overall maintenance plan. But a home inspector can help you more then you may think.

For most of us the two things we will spend the most money on in our lives is our cars and our homes. You would never drive the same car for 10 years or more without taking it in to a mechanic for a tune up would you?  Of course you would not. Car maintenance must be done to ensure your vehicle will continue to run as long and as well as possible. You also clean wash it and vacuum it once in a while as well to keep up the resale value if not for your own sense of cleanliness. Why then should your home be any different?

A regular maintenance plan for your home should include a home inspection every few years. A home inspector can advise you on any repairs that should be done before they become a major expense and discuss any safety issues you may be unaware of.

Home inspectors go over every aspect of your home and give you an unbiased report of the findings. The report will show you anything that may be wrong with your home now, what may be getting ready to need repairs as well as advise you on how to make the repairs.  For instance a home inspector may notice a small stain on a wall and track that to a water leak. The leak may have been small enough to only cost a couple of dollars to fix now but it could have done a lot of damages before you found it on your own.

Home inspections can also alert you to any safety issues you may be unaware of. Worn gas lines and frayed electrical wiring often goes unnoticed until a fire breaks out or people get sick and die. A home inspector looks at electrical wires as well as gas and plumbing as part of a routine check and alerts you when a problem is found.

Engaging the services of a professional home inspector should be a part of regular home maintenance. A thorough unbiased home inspection can point out repair and safety issues before they become a serious issue and help you to retain the value of your home as well as your peace of mind.

The Advantages of Buying Used Trucks

The best used trucks will be those with low mileage that still look great and handle well. A truck with an odometer reading between 35,000 and 60,000 miles may still have another 150,000 to 200,000 of potential driving miles left. Trucks are designed for labor and utility and a solid purchase regardless of their age or odometer reading. There are some exceptions to this, however; with so many options on the market, it is important to ensure you deal with a reputable dealer, and the vehicle has the proper certification.

Better Vehicle for Less

Purchasing a used vehicle can provide all the perks of a new vehicle for as little as half of the truck’s original price. The 2014 model that might have cost $58,000 might be listed for $26,000 after two years of road use. The older, pre-owned vehicle may have many of the same great features as the new model, but it carries a significantly smaller price tag.


The average new vehicle depreciates by 30% in its first year. When the vehicle has reached the end of its second year, the depreciation is far less giving the used truck buyer the option of selling the vehicle for the approximate value they owe. The depreciation is also responsible for the lower price of a used vehicle.


Many of the used trucks available now have a warranty that covers the vehicle for 60,000 miles or 6 years, and some of which can be transferred by the previous owner to the buyer. If the truck is a certified pre-owned, the buyer will be allowed to purchase a new warranty for the used vehicle.

Better Insurance Rates

Previously owned vehicles are cheaper to insure than new cars or trucks. A truck is considered a sports vehicle because of its versatility. Sports vehicles carry higher premiums due to the activities the owner may participate in while using it. The best part of buying used trucks as opposed to new is that the vehicle costs less and will be insured according to its value.

Tax, Title, and License

The price of the vehicle will also figure into the registration fee. Registration fees are a portion of the tax, title, and license due when signing the purchase agreement. These fees are based on the price the new owner paid to purchase the vehicle. The average registration fee is approximately 10% of the vehicle’s overall costs.

Buying a previously owned vehicle will allow the new owner to have more trucks are a great option due to the purchase price and fewer out of pocket expenses. A used vehicle will give the owner the option of driving it until it no longer serves their needs or selling it for the amount owed on the original loan.