WSFS Financial Corporation, the parent company of WSFS Bank, marked Oct. 1 as WSFS Founder's Day, honoring this day in 1831 when its founder, Willard Hall, was elected president of Wilmington Savings Fund Society.
In August 1831, Hall and other community leaders started to plan for a savings bank because there was a strong need and desire by the hard-working citizens of the area to have a safe place to deposit and grow their savings. At the time, banks were very sparse and primarily for the wealthy. Most people kept their savings under the mattress or hidden in drawers, and it often went missing.
In September, 1831, 25 members were elected to the first board of Wilmington Savings Fund Society, one of whom was Hall. On Oct. 1, 1831, he was elected as its first president.
"Today is a very special day at WSFS; today we thank and honor our founder, Willard Hall, for his great service to this community and for creating a community bank to help working men and women save and prosper," said Mark A. Turner, WSFS president and CEO. "We think Willard would be proud of and marvel at what we've become - a full-service financial institution serving people from modest means to people of wealth, as well as businesses of all sizes, through both traditional and high-tech banking solutions. Thanks to Willard's vision and leadership, and the dedication of all the associates that followed him, we will continue his legacy so that WSFS remains a cornerstone of this community for many generations to come."
During the Founder's Day celebration, Mark A. Turner, WSFS president and chief executive officer; WSFS associate representatives; and volunteers from the Wilmington & Brandywine Cemetery gathered at the grave site of WSFS founder Willard Hall. He is buried adjacent to the WSFS Bank Center at cemetery in downtown Wilmington.