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.

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  1. He was a true pal and my heart goes out to each of his family. He suffering a long term illness, this Champion still made it to the World Affairs gatherings until recent, and always speaking of possible new ventures. He will be dearly missed. Charlie Weymouth, AIA

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  2. What a super person – a driver – a doer – a man who gave credit to others if it meant getting the job done — and a leader who worked from mostly behind the scenes — always positive — and only expressed frustration when things didn’t move fast enough. He rarely received the credit he deserved — and how kind and appropriate of David Swayze to note the impact he had. I am better for having known Hank — a man who made great things happen by moving Delaware (and its leaders) into a place of greater opportunity, over and over and over again . – Blake Wilson, Brandon, MS (a former Delawarean)

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