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HDA Class of 2003

Harry J. Volk

Business Executive

Rutgers College 1927, School of Law–Newark 1930


Harry J. Volk revolutionized the insurance and banking industries by making it possible for banks to form holding companies. He joined Prudential Insurance Company in 1930 and, as senior vice president, created the company's first regional home office in California in 1947. He helped mastermind Prudential's decentralization and originated the family policy, a life insurance innovation. Recruited in 1957 as chair and CEO of Union Bank, he led it from 84th to 23rd among the nation's largest banks. Volk's innovations included daily interest compounding, banking by mail, and aggressive marketing. In 1967, he established Union Bancorp, Inc. After retirement, he served 12 years as chair and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, a major California philanthropic organization. He was a founder of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles Music Center, and a trustee of the California University of Technology. Volk was president of the Rutgers Club of Southern California and a member of the Rutgers University Board of Trustees and the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers. He died in 2000 at age 94.


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