Daniel B. Green, the second-generation leader of family-owned Firstrust Bank, who also was heavily involved in the Jewish community, died Aug. 26 in Rancho Sante Fe, California. He was 98.
Green served as chairman, president and CEO of Firstrust, spending 65 years with the bank before retiring in 2015 to become chairman emeritus.
Originally known as First Federal Savings & Loan, the bank was started in 1934 in South Philadelphia’s Point Breeze neighborhood by Dan Green’s father, Sam. Dan Green, then 12, joined his father going door-to-door to raise the $7,500 in minimum deposits needed to open; they eventually raised $7,800 from 180 people.
Dan Green succeeded Sam Green as president and CEO in 1970, also becoming chairman when his father died in 1979.
The bank, which is now headquartered in Conshohocken, has grown ever since, with assets of about $4.5 billion, 18 branches and about 550 employees. In 1987, Dan Green oversaw the conversion of the bank from a mutually owned S&L into a stock savings bank.
“He would say, ‘We’ll serve the community the best we can and let them decide how big we should be,” said son Richard Green, who succeeded his father as president and CEO in 1995.
Richard Green once asked his father why he kept a low public profile.
“His response was that he was interested in doing things that were worthy of praise and less interested in receiving it,” he said.
Longtime local banker Don Gleklen, who first met Dan Green in 1970 while he was working for Industrial Valley Bank, said Green was top-notch both as a banker and as a person.
“The environment of the company reflects the tone that’s set at the top,” said Gleklen, a 15-year member of Firstrust’s board of directors. “He cared about his family. He cared about the bank. He cared about the employees of the bank. He cared about the community.”
Gleklen said he noted during a visit to the bank’s operations center in Horsham the extent of the family atmosphere. A wall there is lined with framed photos of longtime employees, many who worked for the bank for decades.
The company’s principles were reflected in a white paper Dan Green authored entitled “How We Do Things Around Here,” which still serves as Firstrust’s mantra.
Dan Green remained active well into his later years.
Gleklen recalled running into a sweatsuit-clad Dan Green 10 years ago at Green Valley Country Club — he was training for a half-marathon, competing in the 80 to 100 age group, which he won. The next time Gleklen saw him was at a board meeting, where everyone got up to applaud.
“He modestly said, ‘I ran some, I walked some, I jogged some,’” Gleklen said.
Along with his business success, Dan Green was active in the Jewish community and was a founding member of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood. During synagogue renovations a few years back, the Green family endowed the chapel.
Dan Green also was active in the founding of Federation Housing, playing an active role for many years.
“He was always interested in helping to deal with basic human needs,” Richard Green said.
The Samuel A. Green House in Elkins Park that Federation Housing operates was named in honor of Dan Green’s father, and the Florence E. Green House in Trevose was named in honor of his wife, who died in 2012.
Richard Green plans to honor his father by endowing new Federation Housing communities in his name.
Dan and Florence Green also established a Green Family Foundation aimed at supporting basic human needs, Jewish values and the state of Israel.
Dan Green is survived by his sons Benjamin (Barbara), Richard and Arlin (Paula); 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a brother, Rodney.
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