Bank of America was originally founded as Bank of Italy, in America. They survived the Great San Fran Earthquake and were the first bank to open after it. Turns out, the bank owners had smuggled the money out of the city right after the quake. The fires consumed most of downtown and left the other banks with hot, unopenable vaults. BOA had money on hand to restart things.
And Wells Fargo was originally a stagecoach transport service. They mostly transported money across the nation, so they began developing a network of locations from coast to coast.