In 1963, the Sandlers created Golden West Financial Corporation, a savings and loan holding company, to acquire Golden West Savings and Loan Association, the predecessor to World Savings Bank. Since that time, Golden West grew into one of the largest thrifts in the U.S. with assets of approximately $125 billion, deposits of $60 billion, and 12,000 employees. Under the Sandlers' management, Golden West generated a 19 percent average annual compound growth in earnings per share over a 39 year period. The company was described as "one of the most efficient and productive money machines on the planet", and was included 10 times in Fortune magazine's annual list of the United States' most admired companies. The Sandlers were also named "2004 CEOs of the Year" by Morningstar, Inc.
Sandler graduated from the City College of New York in 1951, and from Columbia Law School in 1954.
Golden West was sold in 2006 for $24 billion to Wachovia Bank and the acquisition was completed in October 2006.  The Sandlers owned about 10% of the company at the time of the sale, making their share of the sale price worth about $2.4 billion. Of this the Sandlers gave $1.3 billion to the Sandler Foundation.
The Sandlers helped found and are among the largest benefactors of the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization fighting predatory mortgage lending, payday loans, and other products that prey on consumers; the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank; ProPublica, an investigative reporting newsroom; and the American Asthma Foundation. In addition, the Sandlers or their foundation support organizations involved in medical research, the environment, human rights, and civil liberties.
References and notes
- "Less is More
- "Fortune Magazine Names Golden West Financial Most Admired Mortgage Services Company". Business Wire. 2006.
- Moore, Heidi N. (July 8, 2008). "Wachovia-Golden West: Another Deal From Hell?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
- America's most generous donors Archived 2009-02-20 at the Wayback Machine.
- Nocera, Joe (March 9, 2008). "Self-Made Philanthropists". The New York Times.