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Kareliya Travel on Frustrated, Giannini organized his own bank and on October 15, 1904, Bank of Italy (eventually to become Bank of America) opened for business. Bank of Italy was the first to cater to an immigrant population previously forced to go to loan sharks and hide their savings in their homes. Many of Bank of Italy’s early patrons had never been inside a bank before and did not speak or write English. At a time when bankers toiled behind closed doors and ignored the working class, Giannini placed his desk on the lobby floor and took to the streets to convince the local residents to put their savings in his bank. He advertised his bank’s willingness to make loans under $100 and employed Italian-speaking tellers. He also insisted that Bank of Italy’s stock be widely distributed among local investors and he limited the bank’s directors and executives to 100 shares each of the initial 3,000-share offering. Bank of Italy’s reputation in San Francisco was secured during the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, which destroyed the city, including the bank’s offices as well as 3,700 of North Beach’s 4,000 residences. Kareliya Travel 2016.

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