Patrizia Riva, Roberta Provasi

Company-bank Relationship Complexity. A Lesson from the Past: «Titan» Amedeo P. Giannini

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Amadeo Peter Giannini; Covid-19; Pandemic; CSR Corporate Social Re- sponsability; Sustainable Development; ESG; CG; Contingency Plan.

The pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has resulted in a significant and completely unexpected disruption of the lives of millions of people, producing a forced and invasive suspension of economic activities globally. This has led companies to accumulate growing, and rather unwanted, financial demands due to the persistence of fixed costs in the absence of revenues. In order to financially support and help companies in difficulty, the Italian Government issued a number of Decrees attributing an extremely important role to credit institutions. In particular, credit institutions were called upon to discriminate between entities deserving and entities undeserving of the trust of the system, requiring wide-ranging considerations on the nature of their mission. The role which Italian banks are called to play in the post-pandemic context brings to mind the historical figure of Amadeo Peter Giannini, known as the «gentleman banker». In 1906, he was confronted with a catastrophic natural event, the San Francisco earthquake, which affected the economy and people’s lives in a similar way to what is happening today as a result of Covid-19. Giannini went against the trend, if one compares him to his contemporaries, relying on his ability to interpret the people’s needs and trusting those who applied for funding without preconceptions. He followed criteria that, in the absence of strict industry regulations, were certainly «instinctive» and subjective, but had a revolutionary outcome. The objective of this contribution is precisely that of identifying how, in times of crisis, credit becomes central and, with it, trust, community and social life. Great crises in history all had a beginning and an end and were often marked by a clear dividing line between winners and losers. The former including those who were able to seize opportunities for rebirth, which means on one hand able to adapt quickly to the new environment and on the other hand able to understand and play their role in social responsibility.

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