Firstrust Bank: 88 Years of Grit, Vision, and Family Strength in a Local Financial Institution

By
man in black and white
Image via the Green Family Foundation.
Samuel A. Green, Firstrust Bank Founder.

American life in 1934 was on the upswing. The Great Depression was showing signs of abating; the U.S. gasped at the first photograph of the Loch Ness Monster; and Donald Duck debuted on movie screens. And locally, what would eventually become Firstrust Bank was launched by Samuel A. Green.

Humble Beginnings and Familial Continuity

Samuel A. Green, Firstrust’s Founder, was a Hungarian immigrant, arriving at Ellis Island with a foreign surname (Zoldag) and seven dollars in his pocket.

He settled in South Philadelphia and started a career as a salesman. But that enterprise soon evolved into a home-lending business for neighborhood postal workers. Sam Green’s commitment to his community morphed into a savings and loan, and a family-owned business serving the Philadelphia region was born.

Samuel Green, as fathers do, passed his business enterprise to his son, Daniel B. Green. He, in turn, would pass the management of Firstrust to Richard J. Green

Richard started in the family business in 1978 as General Counsel. Twenty years later, he was named President, CEO, and Vice Chairman. In 2015, he was appointed Chairman of the Board and CEO, a role he continues to fill.

Richard Green’s green-thumb approach to area financial services has served him, his family, his colleagues, and his customers well. Firstrust is now the largest family-owned, full-service, commercial bank in the Greater Philadelphia region. It currently has nearly $5 billion in assets and is arguably one of the best performing banks in the nation.

Vision and Agility

Richard’s leadership of Firstrust is a story of reinvention and innovation, characterized by a series of strategic repositionings.

There was the bold shift he engineered with his then-CEO father, Daniel B. Green, to a family-owned, full-service commercial bank in the 1980s. That move allowed Firstrust to escape the fate of so many S&Ls, which failed during a time of unfortunate consequences of economic, financial, legislative, and regulatory influences.

The Green’s 2008 decision — amid the Great Recession — to invest in digital and mobile technology also proved fortuitous, as did its corporate culture of investing in people and customer experience.

Today, Firstrust is uniquely global in capability, technology, and innovation — while remaining local and providing a world-class experience to its customers.

Hometown Connectedness

One other strand of business DNA savvy has been key to Firstrust’s longevity: Richard’s continual reinvestment in the Philadelphia community.

His current philanthropic roles include:

  • Board of Trustees member of Penn Medicine
  • Board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
  • A seat on the Executive Board of Federation Housing
  • Trustee of the Green Family Foundation, founded in 2005 in honor of his parents Daniel B. and Florence E. Green.

Oh, and there’s one more association that has become the hallmark of the Bank: a little arrangement with those jolly footballers at Lincoln Financial Field. Under Richard’s leadership, Firstrust Bank partnered with another world-class organization, also founded in South Philadelphia, and in 2020 became the the Official Bank of the Eagles.

Ever Moving Forward

Fortunately for bank customers and associates (as well as the general business community), Richard and Firstrust Bank is not finished innovating.

In 1990, he acquired Rancho Santa Fe Bank, an FDIC-insured bank in Calif. It has been relaunched as Hatch Bank, a technology-first financial institution.

And although the lure of the technology hub in The Golden State is strong, don’t expect him to swap cheesesteaks and the Inquirer for the Silicon Valley’s frou-frou cuisine and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He’s committed to staying local, ensuring firsthand that his Philly-first bank retains its City-of-Brotherly-Love authenticity.

More on Firstrust Bank — its past, present, and future — is available online.

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