Slideshow Blasts from America's Banking Past

Published
  • August 12 2014, 7:30am EDT

Take a walk down memory lane with some of the last century's most notable (and occasionally notorious) bankers, regulators and policymakers. All photos are from American Banker's photo archives.

Innovator and Visionary

Walter Wriston led Citibank and its holding company, Citicorp, for almost two decades. Widely regarded as one of the most influential bankers of his time, his notable feats included the introduction of the automated teller machine. "Information about money," he once said, "has become almost as important as money itself."

(Photo credit: Rita Kay Meyer)

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Make a Wish

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush cuts a cake honoring the 50th anniversary of the Export-Import Bank in 1984. William H. Draper, venture capitalist and the former president and chairman of Ex-Im, is also pictured. What kind of cake will they pick if the bank makes it to its centennial?

(Photo credit: Mary Katz)


Payments Pioneer

Dee Hock, the founder and former chief executive of Visa, in 1984—the year he left the company and lit out for rural northern California, seeking "a life of isolation and anonymity."

(Photo credit: Jay Freis)


California Dreamers

A.P. Giannini, founder of the original (West Coast) Bank of America, with actress Vivien Leigh on the set of Gone with the Wind, circa 1939.

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Clean-Up, Aisle Three

Angelo Mozilo, founder and CEO of Countrywide Financial (then Countrywide Credit), in 1992. Note the "Secondary Marketing" sign hanging from the ceiling, supermarket-style, at right.

(Photo credit: Chuck Potter)


Road to Riches?

Former Citigroup chairman Richard D. Parsons in 1991, back when he was the chief operating officer of New York's Dime Savings Bank.

(Photo credit: Edward Santalone)


Simpler Times

Ken Lewis presided over Bank of America's acquisitions of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch during the 2008 financial crisis. Here he is in 1993, when he was president of NationsBank (which later acquired and took the name of B of A).

(Photo credit: Joy Leviton)

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Empire Builder

Sandy Weill surrounded by students in 1990, eight years before the megamerger that created Citigroup.

Mortgage Money Machine

Lewis Ranieri, the godfather of mortgage-backed securities, in 1990 (presumably negotiating the terms of a CMO trade).

(Photo credit: Phil Roosevelt)


Gentle Giant

Cigar-chomping former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, at a time when stogies were welcome in government buildings.

(Photo credit: Louise Kraft)

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Plugged In

Long before his troubled reign at Freddie Mac, Richard Syron worked in a variety of public- and private-sector positions (including an assistant to Volcker at the Fed). Here he is as president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston in the late 1980s. Note the Telerate machine on the right.

(Photo credit: Stanley Gibson)


Young Reformer

A baby-faced Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., back when a 2,300-page bill mandating sweeping reforms to the financial industry was just a twinkle in his eye.