Gramps Would See Idiots and Greed, Greed, Greed

by
Abby Zimet

We love the no-nonsense interview with the white-haired granddaughter of the guy who founded Bank of America – as Bank of Italy because existing banks wouldn't lend to immigrants – who asks the pertinent question of current goings-on, "What kind of idiots are running that bank?"

Virginia Hammerness says her grandfather A.P. Giannini, who started the bank in San Francisco in 1904, would have been appalled at the B of A's recent purchase of a near-bankrupt, obscene-bonus-paying Merrill Lynch. He once turned down a $1.7 million bonus, saying the bank should help its customers
instead, and after the 1906 earthquake gave out loans from a wooden plank set up on the street with a handshake as collateral. Every loan, he said, was repaid. Masters of greed, take note.

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