Hall of Fame | Honoree | JAMES C. SCHMIDT


Great American First Savings Bank of San Diego

James C. Schmidt retired in 1988 after serving for 20 years as Vice Chairman, President and Managing Officer of Great American Bank, San Diego, formerly San Diego Federal Savings and Loan.

James Schmidt earned a Business Degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from DePaul University in Chicago. He is a member of the California and Illinois State Bars.

Among James Schmidt's many past professional leadership roles, were Chairman of the California League of Savings Institutions, Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and President of the Conference of Federal Savings and Loans. He also provided service to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board by serving as Bank Board and the FSLIC as Chief Executive Officer to manage Southern California Savings, and also served as an appointed member of the Federal Savings and Loan Advisory Council.

In retirement, James Schmidt continues to be very active in civic affairs in San Diego as a Director of the Holiday Bowl, where he is a founding Director and Past President, as a public member of the Committee that oversees the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge, and as a Director of both the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the San Diego Highway Development Association. He is also very active in promoting sports and supporting housing and transportation activities in San Diego.

Governor Ronald Reagan appointed James Schmidt to three important positions in California state government: Chief Deputy of the Business and Transportation Agency, Vice Chairman of the California State Transportation Board and a member of the California Toll Bridge Authority.
James Schmidt has been awarded numerous honors including the:
California Federation of Black Leadership's Certificate of Merit in 1979

  • Significant Sig Award of Sigma Chi Fraternity in 1981
  • Executive in Residence Award of San Diego State University, College of Business Administration in 1987
  • San Diego Urban League Equal Opportunity Award in 1989
  • ​He also received several awards from his industry and the federal regulating authorities