I have always been intrigued by the story of Amadeo Peter Giannini; how can one overlook a personality who lost his father in a feud over a dollar (http://agilewriter.com) and grew up to own the largest bank in the country at the time of his death? Indeed, we, as aspiring entrepreneurs have much to learn from this dynamic personality. Being an immigrant from Italy, A. P. Giannini never lost sight of his humble beginnings, he envisioned himself working for the underprivileged at a time when the banking industry only catered to the elite and any small saver resorted to saving money in the cracks and crevices of their walls and borrowing from the likes of Sherlock.
Giannini had a panoramic view of his business as one focusing on reaching out to the customers. Since many of his customers came from far flung areas to avail his unique package of services, such as auto loans, installment credit, home mortgages etc., he decided to open up branches of the Bank of Italy which eventually acquired several other smaller banks to become the Bank of America. This network of branches, that we take for granted today, was so new at that time, that most existing banks mocked the idea; but Giannini marched forward with his idea and his vision of servicing his customers efficiently through a well connected system was realized years after his death when the Bank of America was the first to run coast to coast transactions through its vastly spread branches.
Even the Great San Francisco Earthquake (http://www.entrepreneur.com) wasn’t big enough to hold Giannini back from doing business; like most successful entrepreneurs, he started off with a plan but little procedures, fanfare and formal processes, he made do with the bare necessities and extended loans on the basis of trust and a handshake while most banks remained closed until they could be refurbished. In this way he kept himself aloof from luxuries and always stood by his motto of simplicity and selflessness. As he so aptly puts the story of his success: “I have worked without thinking of myself. This [is] the largest factor in whatever success I have attained.”
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