Amadeo Peter Giannini
Birthplace: San Jose, Calif.
Leaving school at age 13, he worked for 18 years in his step-father's produce business before becoming a partner and retiring in 1901. He then began the Bank of Italy (1904), lending money he controlled as executor of his father-in-law's estate. His liberal loan policies were his trademark as the bank continued to expand throughout California, creating the first statewide branch-banking system in the country. He created the Transamerica Corp. holding company in 1928; in 1930 he established the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association by combining the Bank of Italy with the Bank of America of California, which he had created in 1927 by consolidating other bank branches. The new conglomerate weathered the Depression to become the largest bank in the United States, and the largest privately owned bank in the world. Giannini's lending policies encouraged the development of both California's agricultural industry and the motion picture industry. His benefactions include the Bank of America-Giannini Foundation for medical research and educational scholarships and the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics of the University of CaliforniaDied: 6/3/1949