Edward Crutchfield (July 14, 1941 - )
One of the leading architects of the banking expansion into interstate operations and multiple services, Ed Crutchfield helped to build First Union into a major national financial services firm.
Around the turn of the 20th Century, Charlotte's 18,000
citizens were brimming with optimism as the textile industrialization of
the New South was underway.
Financing that growth led to a surge of new banks, including the Union National Bank in 1908.
In 1958, the Union National Bank merged with First National Bank & Trust Company in Asheville to form First Union, headquartered in Charlotte, NC.
That same year, Ed Crutchfield was a high school senior who played tackle for the state champion Albemarle Bulldogs.
Ed's dad was serving as a judge, following a career with the FBI. Ed's mother taught in the local elementary school.
Ed graduated from Davidson College in 1963, and then earned his master's degree from the Wharton School of Finance in 1965.
That year he joined First Union, which had $400 million in assets. He began as a credit analyst, which led to other jobs, such as starting the bank's bond department, now First Union Securities.
In 1973, Cliff Cameron announced that Ed Crutchfield would become president of First Union Bank. At age 32, he was the youngest president of a major bank in the country.
In 1984, Ed assumed the CEO title and the chairmanship of the bank (1985), just as interstate banking came into existence. First Union had $17 billion in assets.
In difficult times, the survival strategy was to become a leader as the banking industry consolidated. More than 80 major acquisitions were made by First Union since 1985. In 1986, The Wall Street Journal named Crutchfield the best chief executive of any regional U.S. bank.
In the mid-1990s, the restrictions on bank holding companies were removed allowing consolidated financial service firms to merge banking, securities, insurance and other financial sectors.
On June 19, 1995, First Union announced another acquisition, First Fidelity. Coupled with the rapid growth of other Charlotte-based banks, the transaction boosted Charlotte into the second largest financial center in the U.S.
When Ed Crutchfield retired in 2000, First Union Corporation had grown to $253 billion in assets.
As one observer said: "He wanted to build a bank where half the income came from capital markets. That means that at First Union, they are not 85% dependent on spread income from loans for their profits like at most banks. That is his gift to this company and that is what he will be remembered for."
But Ed's accomplishments far exceed just his business success.
In the late 1980s, Ed launched a novel program Excellence in Education, where employees were allowed paid time each month to participate in public school teaching efforts, such as through Junior Achievement. First Union also sponsored Reading First literacy program. In 1999, these efforts were nationally recognized by a Point of Light award.
And Ed has helped lead successful capital and annual campaigns for numerous groups, including Johnson C. Smith University, the Salvation and United Way.
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