Breaking the Bank
IN THIS SUMMARY
Amadeo Peter Giannini (A.P.) was born in to Italian immi-grants living in San Jose, California. At age 15, A. P. began working for his stepfather, Luigi Scatena, a produce commission merchant. The volatile produce business taught A. P. about free markets, the laws of supply and demand, and how to sell.When asked to fill his father-in-law's seat on the board of the Columbus Savings & Loan Association, A. P. urged expansion by loaning to small businesses. The board refused, and he established the Bank of Italy.Transamerica Corp. was created as a holding company to facili-tate the acquisition of the $167 million Bank of America of New York. A. P. retired as chairman and CEO of Transamerica, naming his son, Mario, president and making Elisha Walker CEO. The company had been greatly damaged by the Crash, and Walker immediately moved to dismantle it-managing to sell B of A of New York. However, A. P. regained control of his company when the sharehold-ers voted him back as chairman and president.B of A continued to dominate banking in California in 1970 with 900 branches, two and one half million customers, and $25 billion in deposits. The company was profitable, but it had lost its single-minded devotion to the small depositor/consumer and had begun to diversify into new areas.