A history of helping people live their best lives

Transamerica has a long, proud history of making financial services available to the many, not just the few. It began in 1904, when a young entrepreneur named Amadeo P. Giannini founded a bank in San Francisco to help people who couldn’t get the help they needed anywhere else. Over a century later, this innovative thinking still guides what we do today. Because we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to live their best life.

1904

A.P. Giannini, known for helping small merchants and immigrant farmers, founds the Bank of Italy. It becomes Bank of America in 1928.

1930

Bank of America acquires the Occidental Life Insurance Company through the newly created holding company, Transamerica Corporation.

1972

Architect William Pereira is commissioned to design a new company headquarters in San Francisco and the Transamerica pyramid is born.

1999

Transamerica becomes part of Aegon, a leading international financial services holding company.

2023

Transamerica begins a new chapter in serving the underserved as America’s leading middle market life insurance and retirement company.

“The helping hand on a dark day is what folks remember to the end of time."

Amadeo Gianinni

Our Story

A helping hand in hard times

In 1904, Amadeo Giannini, who had a reputation for helping small merchants and immigrant farmers, founded the Bank of Italy in a converted San Francisco saloon. His goal was to make financial services available to everyone — an innovative idea at the time. Two years later, in the chaotic days after the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, Giannini set up a makeshift bank on a desk on the San Francisco docks. Instead of collateral, he required only a handshake when giving residents loans to rebuild.

A legend and his business grew

Giannini was never one to make a big deal about his role in helping the city and its residents rebuild, but still his reputation and business grew. He continued to drive innovation in the industry by serving the underserved, and in 1921, he opened a bank for women staffed entirely by women.
 

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. In 1956, the Bank Holding Company Act required Transamerica to choose between banks or non-bank investments. Transamerica chose insurance.
 

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.

The legacy lives on

In 1999, A.P. Giannini was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. That same year, Transamerica became part of Aegon, a leading international financial services holding company.

Together, they help even more people live their best lives. As a leading provider of retirement, employee benefits, life insurance, annuities, and investment solutions, Transamerica continues to help everyone make the most of what’s important to them.

Helping people live their best lives

Today, we’re as committed to helping people as our founder was over a century ago. For our next chapter, we’re focused on helping the heart of our nation to thrive. That’s why we design products that work in people’s real lives today and anticipate an evolving future. So no matter where someone is on their journey, we can help them develop the freedom and confidence to live the life they want.

29,000,000+

customers worldwide

The Transamerica pyramid

Much like A.P. Giannini transformed financial services, the Transamerica pyramid transformed the San Francisco skyline when it was completed in 1972. Nestled in the heart of the city’s financial district next to Redwood Park, the iconic tower stands at 853 feet tall. It was the tallest building in San Francisco until the creation of the Salesforce Tower.


Although the pyramid no longer serves as Transamerica's headquarters and we no longer own the property, the distinctive structure is still depicted in our logo as a symbol of innovative thinking.

True to our values

Our purpose of helping people live their best lives influences everything we do, from ideals that guide our decision-making to the ways we interact with others. That’s why our company values are tuning in, stepping up, and being a force for good.

Who we are

Creating opportunity is still at the heart of what we do. As customers’ needs and financial landscape evolve, we want to help pave the way forward for everyone.

What we support

We’re committed to helping people have the best life possible, whether they are our employees, our customers, or members of the communities where we live and work.

How we invest in people

We’re dedicated to creating a diverse workplace filled with exceptional individuals. Together, we can meet the evolving needs of our customers through innovative solutions.

Why we advocate

We want to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why we support state and federal legislation and regulation that help make it easier for everyone to achieve their financial goals.