The extraordinary life of Amadeo Peter Giannini, a truly legendary figure. Born in 1870 in San Jose in California to a family of Genoese emigrants, he is a character who left an indelible trace in the history of the United States, between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. Giannini is in fact one of the founders of the Bank of America with Lionello Perera. He is the first to conceive the bank as a consumer good, a service for everyone and not just for wealthy people. So much so that he is nicknamed the 'banker of the humble'.

Amadeo Peter Giannini

In San Francisco opens the Bank of Italy in October 1904 in the premises of a former saloon. In 1906 the earthquake destroyed almost the whole city. Giannini, who had been a banker for only a few years and whose clientele consisted of humble artisans and traders of Italian origin who could not find credit in any other bank, has a brilliant idea. He takes a table, places it in the crowd of earthquake victims and puts the sign on it "Bank of Italy: open to customers". Thirteen years later he founded the Bank of America and Italy, the Italian branch of the Bank of Italy. A few years after the Bank of Italy becomes Bank of America: the banker of the humble officially becomes the banker of all.

giannini postage stamp
The stamp in honor of the banker of the humble

 Giannini is also a great patron and a philanthropist. In fact, he contributes to the growth of the film and wine industries. He lends to Walt Disney funds to produce Snow White, the first animated feature film made in the USA. During the 'Great Depression', he buys the bonds that he will use for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. During the Second Word War, finances the industrialist Henry Kaiser in support of the war activity. After the war, he visits Italy, the homeland of his parents; he arranges loans for the reconstruction of the Fiat factories destroyed by the conflict. 

Upon his death in 1949, his sons took over the reins of the bank; he is buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma in California. This in synthesis is the life of a great American of Italian origins.

(On the cover Amadeo Peter Giannini / Wikipedia - public domain)

Amadeo Peter Giannini, the founder of the Bank of America last edit: 2022-11-07T12:30:00+01:00 da Staff

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