Amadeo Giannini became a banker at the age of 34, more by accident than by design. At the time he was worth between $200,000 and $300,000. He lived in a large, warm home called Seven Oaks in San Mateo, California. He was comfortable, even satisfied. So what compelled him to get into a banking venture, the Bank of Italy, that morphed into the Bank of America, the largest bank in the world half a century later? Italian immigrants arriving in San Francisco settled in North Beach. They were poor, unemployed, and so low on the economic ladder they were neglected by the city and its commercial life. Banks refused to serve this community and A.P. Giannini, a successful merchant, and indignant at this shoddy treatment, decided to take action. What J. P. Morgan was for the rich man, A.P. was for the common man. When the House of Morgan declined, the Bank of America ascended. A.P. was born in San Jose on May 6, 1870, in a cheap hotel managed by his 22-year-old father, Luigi, a recent immigrant from Italy, and his 15-year-old mother, Virginia. Luigi leased the 22-room “Swiss Hotel,? catering to Italian immigrants, and did well enough to acquire a 40-acre ranch in the Santa Clara Valley where they grew vegetables.