Disasters create opportunity. That is the unfortunate truth--or fortunate if you are the entrepreneur cashing in on the catastrophe.
Some of you may have a credit card backed by a bank this real life "Building and Loan" man founded. Read on to discover which bank and how a San Francisco tragedy went on to launch make this bank a worldwide success, easily recognizable by most people in the United States.
April 18, 1906. The day started out rocky for people in and around San Francisco. Literally. A terrible earthquake had its epicenter in that city. Buildings shook and sometimes crumbled.
One woman determined to make the best of it and started her stove to make breakfast for her family not realizing that the quake destroyed her chimney. The fire quickly engulfed her home and spread throughout the city.
|Sacramento Street with the approaching fire, |
1906, by Arnold Genthe.
People's lives burned before them. To keep the city going and allow for rebuilding, bankers would need to loan out money. Quickly.
One small bank was different. The Bank of Italy was a small business with smart owner. Amadeo Giannini loaded $80,00 of coins in his wagon and escaped from the town with them hidden under crates filled with oranges. Coins he collected in the weeks and months before the quake when he convinced immigrants that their few coins were safer in his vault rather than stuffed in their mattresses.