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Milestone Award Winner – Mark Turner

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Mark Turner | PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI

When Mark Turner arrived at WSFS Bank in the mid-‘90s, the Philadelphia-area native was in search of an employer where he could grow and make a difference.

How little did he know that he would become one of the most important bankers in Delaware history.

Turner worked his way from controller to chief financial and operating officer at the century-old bank headquartered in Wilmington. In 2007, the board named him its president and CEO – taking the helm just months before the Great Recession would begin to set up, upending banks nationwide and leading to federal intervention.

 “I think I learned more and did more in those five years (2010-15) than it would have been 15 years’ worth of a normal business cycle,” he recalled. “That proved to be a very defining seminal period of time – going from 20 years earlier where we were almost extinct to now one of the surviving and thriving organizations in Delaware and the greater Delaware Valley.”

Although many banks struggled through the recession, and WSFS wasn’t immune to all its effects, the homegrown bank exited the crisis in a strong position due in part to Turner’s wisdom and strategy. During his tenure, the bank acquired Christiana Bank & Trust to enter the wealth management business – today it accounts for nearly a third of its revenue – and it also began expanding into southeastern Pennsylvania with the acquisitions of Alliance Bank, Penn Liberty Bank and Beneficial Bank.

“That gave us credibility to be able to compete with the larger banks in our marketplace,” he said, noting that today WSFS is the largest, locally headquartered bank in the greater Philadelphia area.

Outside of the WSFS boardroom, Turner has served on dozens of nonprofit boards, including ChristianaCare, the Delaware Bankers Association and the Delaware Business Roundtable, where he helped refocus the organization of CEOs around the issue of workforce development. It culminated in the Roundtable’s influential “Ready in Six” report that has largely guided the Carney’s administration’s actions, including supporting the creation of the public-private Delaware Prosperity Partnership to guide development.

“My personal ethos when I do things is that they’d be not only good, but they’d be sustainable,” he said.

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