Henry Beckler, father of Delaware’s credit card banking, dies at 86
Henry H. Beckler, 86, of Greenville, passed away Tuesday, May 9. A former Chase Manhattan banker, Beckler was instrumental in bringing credit card banking to Delaware. He joined the Bank of Delaware in the late 1970s, where he became invested in making the state a financial capital.
“As Henry followed what South Dakota was doing in removing its usury limits in a time of historic higher interest rates, to attract credit card banking portfolios, he began to think that Delaware would be a better place for them than South Dakota,” said David S. Swayze, Esq., a Democrat and former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Pierre S. “Pete” du Pont IV.
Beckler lobbied the administration to introduce what became the Financial Center Development Act of 1981. The act brought a surge of credit card banks, such as Chase, MBNA, and First USA, into downtown Wilmington.
“It would be hard to overstate just how important Henry was to that process,” Swayze added. “When things would get bogged down, inside our working group, for example, it was Henry who would get it back on track.”
In addition, Beckler’s lifelong interest in international trade led him to buy and develop the Delaware franchise for the World Trade Center, which was run for nearly 20 years by Rebecca Faber, and more recently by Carla Sydney Stone. Beckler worked alongside the International Trade Division of the State of Delaware and helped make the World Trade Center a key influence on policy and economic development.
The Beckler family was also active for decades in many of the State’s leading art institutions, working to make Delaware a more arts-friendly community. In addition, Henry Beckler was a long-time stalwart member of the Rotary Club of Wilmington, one of America’s oldest and largest Rotary Clubs.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and other family members. Services were held Thursday in New York City.