How the Origin of Bank of America Provides Lessons for Today

In a new Wall Street Journal feature, called Back in Business, Jason Zweig provides some detail into the origins of Bank of America; it was started by A. P. Giannini in 1904 as the Bank of Italy in San Francisco because he was angry that his local bank would not make small loans to local borrowers; the upstart bank was not even two years old when the big 1906 earthquake struck the city but Giannini rescued the gold and cash from his bank and the very next day had set up a desk on the wharf and was loaning money out to cash strapped businesses; he was one of the first banker to favor the common people over the privileged few and many of the innovations he implemented have enabled the growth of the banking behemoths today; Zweig points out that big banks are often less willing to take risks and so in times of crisis innovation can bubble up elsewhere. The Wall Street Journal

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