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Primary Sources: A. P. Giannini: Catering to the Small Depositor
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The California man who founded the Bank of America (then called the Bank of Italy) advertised his services to ordinary people, drumming up a huge business. This newspaper ad from 1913 -- at a time when banks rarely advertised -- describes his revolutionary loan policies.

The Bank of Italy has been, from its inception and is now, ready and anxious to make loans to people owning, or intending to build, their own homes -- to the smaller mortgage borrowers who need $1000 or less.

The Bank of Italy has built up, its present reputation, its present enormous resources, largely through catering to the small depositor -- the wage earner, the producer, the small business man, the man who owns a small home or a piece of improved property, the man who is the bone and sinew of Southern California's progress.

This bank has never catered to speculators.

To men of the home-owning type particularly, we hold out now the opportunity to effect a loan, the opportunity to borrow money on their small holdings.

And in this bank there is no need for the payment of brokers' fees or commissions, no need for working through a third party, no expenses in connection with the drawing of mortgage papers.

No cost of any kind.


Excerpt from Marquis James and Bessie R. James, Biography of a Bank: The Story of Bank of America NT & SA, 1904-1953. San Francisco: BankAmerica Corporation, 1982, illustration after p. 310.



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