Daniel B. Green, 98, of Haverford, the former chairman and CEO of Firstrust Bank, died Wednesday, Aug. 26, at his second home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Mr. Green was the second-generation leader of Firstrust. His father, Samuel A. Green, founded the bank in 1934 in his mother’s South Philadelphia kitchen.
Formerly called First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Philadelphia, the bank received one of the first charters issued for an S&L in Pennsylvania.
At age 12 in the mid-1930s, Mr. Green joined his father every night after dinner, going door to door in South Philly, seeking deposits for the new savings and loan to reach the required $7,500 minimum.
Eventually, they raised $7,800 from 180 depositors to establish the new business at 1332 Point Breeze Ave. Mr. Green succeeded his father as president and CEO in 1970 and expanded the business to become a force in the region, with current assets of $4.5 billion.
During his tenure, Firstrust opened 15 branches in Philadelphia and the suburbs, and one each in Cherry Hill, Allentown, and Towson, Md. He grew its lending portfolio to include commercial real estate.
“He did a lot of real estate lending,” said Don Gleken, a former senior lending officer at Industrial Valley Bank who did business with Mr. Green. “Dan was well known as a competent, sophisticated banker and a man of character and principle.”
In 1979, at the death of his father, Mr. Green also became chairman of the board and served in that capacity until 2015, when he was succeeded by his son, Richard J. Green, who had been president and CEO since 1995.
Mr. Green retired in 2015 as chairman emeritus, after 65 years of service.
He was an exacting and hardworking role model for the bank’s associates. “He modeled a sense of fiscal discipline, customer centricity, resilience, innovation, and tenacity in all his work,” the family said in a tribute.
Mr. Green laid out his guiding principles in a white paper called “How We Do Things Around Here.” It still guides bank policy.
“If you cannot be in the top 10% at what you do, why bother to do it at all?” Mr. Green liked to say. And when people would talk about how the average institution performed, he would answer that meant nothing, since he never expected to be average.
He was able to temper his stern demeanor with humility about his accomplishments and a rich sense of humor.
“I want to do things that are deserving of high praise, but I am not concerned about getting the praise itself,” Mr. Green liked to say.
Mr. Green was open-minded. Shortly after being chosen to join Firstrust’s board of directors 15 years ago, Gleken received a call from Mr. Green. “I want you to understand, if you have questions or reservations about anything we are doing, you should feel free to speak up,” Mr. Green said. Gleken found the call “extraordinary.”
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Green graduated from West Philadelphia High School, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1943. He attended Temple Law School at night while working full-time and graduated in 1949. He passed up a law career to join his father in banking.
Mr. Green served on the boards of Lankenau Medical Center and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and was a founding member of Federation Housing Inc. The latter provides affordable housing and services so that low-and-moderate-income seniors can live in safety and dignity, according to its mission statement.
Mr. Green married Florence Elaine Weiss in 1946. They had three children, whom they raised in Haverford. She died in 2012.
His faith was always at the center of his life, his family said. He was a founding member of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood. Along with his wife, he founded the nonprofit Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Family Foundation.
Besides his son, he is survived by sons Benjamin and Arlin; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a brother.
Burial was private. Plans for a memorial service were pending.