How Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson invests in his community

Published: Tuesday, July 17 2012 12:35 a.m. MDT

Giannini's story is legendary in financing lore. His modest bank was a mere two years old when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake devastated the city, shutting down, among other things, the vaults in all the big banks. Giannini, on the other hand, was able to quickly access all his bank's funds and as the smoke was still settling and the fires were still burning he set up a makeshift desk literally over a barrel and started loaning money to those who needed it to rebuild. He asked for no collateral and dispensed his money freely to the common man, something considered anathema to bankers of the time who only dealt with the upper class.

Giannini boasted that every earthquake loan he made was repaid. It was the beginning of what has grown into America's second-largest bank.

Giannini's daughter, Claire, gave Anderson the bust when he left Bank of America. He keeps it front and center to remind him, he says, that the main value of money is to help people and their community grow.

Of Giannini, Anderson says, "They say that when he died his estate was just $500,000."

He doesn't elaborate, but his implication is clear: in a business where money is how they keep score, Giannini cashed in well short of the Rockefellers and the Morgans; a mere pauper by comparison. He funded his legacy instead with a different sort of currency, drawn on goodwill and good service.

"His example really impacted me," Anderson says as he reaches out to dust off the Italian's statue. But he doesn't linger. He's got meetings to go to, causes to champion, and a bank to run - in a very un-banker kind of way.

EMAIL: lee@desnews.com

Local involvement: Here's a selection of where Scott Anderson is involved in the community:

Beneficial Financial Group

Citizens for Education Excellence

Governor's Education Commission

Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Intermountain Healthcare

Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Southern Utah University Museum of Art

Governor's Advisory Team

USTAR, Utah Sports Commission

Utah Technologies Council

Westminster College National Advisory Council

World Trade Center Utah

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