Giannini was never one to make a big deal about his role in helping the city and its residents rebuild, but his legend and his business grew. In 1928, he consolidated his bank into what would become Bank of America. Two years later, the organization acquired the Occidental Life Insurance Company through the newly created holding company, Transamerica Corporation. Less than two decades later in 1946, Giannini’s bank would become the largest private bank in the world.
During those expansion years, Giannini’s legend grew as he provided funding at a critical time to the emerging California agricultural and wine industries. The generous banker also purchased bonds to secure the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression. He even loaned Walt Disney the money to complete his first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Due to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, Transamerica had to choose whether to divest its banks or its non-bank investments. Transamerica surprised the financial world and chose insurance.