California Financial Groups

California Financial Groups


a coalition of major West Coast financiers and industrialists in the United States, bringing together several separate monopoly groupings: the Bank of America (the Giannini group), the Western Bank Corporation (Los Angeles), and the San Francisco group. The coalition emerged in the early 20th century and was consolidated in the mid-1950’s. The total assets jointly controlled by these groups was more than $70 billion in late 1970.

The most influential group within the coalition is the Bank of America group, whose assets are valued at about $25 billion. The Bank of America heads this group and either directly or indirectly, through the specially created holding company Trans-america Corporation, maintains close ties with the Kaiser industrial conglomerate. The latter consists of four major corporations: Kaiser Steel, Kaiser Aluminum, Kaiser Engineers, and Kaiser Aerospace and Electronics. The strengthening of this group after World War II is connected with the arms race produced by the Cold War, the Korean and Indochina wars, and the increased number of military contracts placed by the government. In the late 1960’s the California financial groups accounted for 25 percent of all Pentagon contracts and nearly 50 percent of contracts related to US space research. Through personal alliances and holdings of controlling blocks of shares, the Giannini group is closely related to the largest military-industrial concerns in the United States, which belong to the Western Bank Corporation group: Lockheed Aircraft, McDonnell Douglas, and the Litton Industries industrial conglomerate; it is also associated with a number of air transport companies and oil monopolies. Representatives of this group occupy high posts in the US government.

Western Bank Corporation and the San Francisco group both have assets exceeding $20 billion. These groups do not have a very extensively developed system of credit institutions (controlling only a few commercial banks and insurance companies) and have weak links with Wall Street. The nucleus of the Western Bank Corporation consists of aviation and electronics concerns and oil companies. The San Francisco group consists basically of naval shipbuilding, petroleum refining, paper milling, and the production of power-system equipment, valuable minerals, and agricultural machinery.


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Zhukov, E. F. Strakhovye monopolii v ekonomike SShA. Moscow, 1971.Pages 140-45.


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