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Bank Founder Leonard Weil Dies at 85

Leonard Weil, founder of Manufacturers Bank, has died. He was 85.


Weil died on Monday at his home in Tarzana after struggling with health issues for a year and a half. His wife and two of his daughters were by his side.


Weil was founding president and served as chief executive of Manufacturers Bank from 1962 to 1986. It was the first bank to open in downtown Los Angeles in 35 years. The bank was formed by a group of banking entrepreneurs to serve small and medium-sized business firms in the garment industry.


In 1981, Mitsui Bank Ltd. of Japan purchased Manufacturers Bank for what was a record price at the time. Weil continued to run Mitsui Manufacturers Bank for five more years, then retired in 1986 and was named president emeritus.


Weil was born on Oct. 14, 1922 in New York. He graduated from UCLA in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in economics with honors.


His banking career began after World War II during his stay in Vienna, Austria.


“He served as a translator for the U.S. in Europe during World War II,” said his daughter, Susan Weil. “When the war was over, he stayed on in Vienna working for the State Department, evaluating programs to restructure Austria’s financial institutions.”


He worked for Union Bank when he returned to the U.S. in 1947. During his 16 years there, he did post-graduate work in banking and finance at USC. From 1951 to 1963, he taught real estate finance, corporate finance, banking and comparative financial institutions at both the graduate and undergraduate level.


After his retirement, he taught at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management as adjunct assistant professor until 2001.


Weil served as a member of various banking organizations. He was president of the California Bankers Association, Independent Bankers Association of Southern California and Western Independent Bankers Association. He also served as director of the American Bankers Association and chairman of the Pacific Coast Banking School.


He is survived by Janice, his wife of 55 years, his children Diane, Marilyn, Michael and Susan, and seven grandchildren.


Services will be at noon on April 10 at Hillside Memorial Park.



— Yoo Mi Chin

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