LifeNotes: City National Bank’s Bram Goldsmith


Pictured (L-R): Diane Pearson, Bram Goldsmith, Lori Badgett

Bram Goldsmith, who led City National Bank for 20 years, died Sunday, Feb. 28. He was 93.

As chairman and CEO from 1975 to 1995, he grew the company’s assets more than five-fold, to $3.2 billion. Bram was a director of the company for 50 years, chairman of City National Corporation for over 40 years, and an active member of the company’s Strategy and Planning Committee up to and through its most recent meeting.

Bram was born in Chicago in 1923.  His parents were Bertha and Max Goldsmith. Bram attended the University of Illinois, where he studied finance and business administration, and in 1942, he joined the U.S. Army, and married his wife of more than 70 years, Elaine. He served in Burma during the war. Following World War II, Bram returned to Chicago, but moved to Los Angeles in 1952. In 1953, a small group of local businessmen, including his father-in-law Ben Maltz, decided to open a bank that would cater to entrepreneurs, real estate professionals and the city’s growing entertainment industry. A year later, City National Bank opened its doors. In 1964, he replaced his father-in-law on the board.

Bram developed a close relationship with the bank and in 1975, he bought a 19 percent stake in the company from its retiring CEO Al Hart, and for the next 20 years he served as its chairman and chief executive officer. Before joining City National full-time in 1975, Bram served for 20 years as president and chief executive officer of Buckeye Realty and Management Corporation, the company he co-owned with his partner George Konheim.

A public memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Friday (March 4) in the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The service will be followed by a reception in the same location.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bram’s name to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center or the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Today, City National has more than $36 billion in assets, and its 3,700 colleagues deliver banking and investment services through 75 offices in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville and Atlanta.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at

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