More Philadelphia Jews Are in Banking, City’s Aj Committee and Vocational Service Say

Jews currently comprise 12 1/2 percent of all bank directors in Philadelphia and three percent of all bank officers in the city. Ten years ago, Jews accounted for only two percent of bank directors and one percent of bank officers.

These and other developments in the employment of Jews in banking were discussed today at a meeting under the sponsorship of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Philadelphia Jewish Employment and Vocational Service. The Session heard a progress report of the executive advisory program of the two agencies covering the decade 1959-69.

Announcement of the results of the survey was made by Leon C. Sunstein, Jr., chairman of the executive advisory program committee. The report was prepared by Steven H. Appelbaum, director of the program and lecturer on human-industrial relations at Temple University.

The report is a follow-up to an investigation published by the Philadelphia AJ Committee chapter in 1960, which confirmed the general image that banks had a low level of Jewish involvement in managerial positions, and of a still earlier survey by the national AJ Committee that revealed that less than one-half of one percent of executive and management level positions in finance and industry in this country were held by Jews.

Shortly after release of the 1960 findings, the Philadelphia chapter and the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service joined forces in an “executive suite” program designed to correct the situation in Philadelphia. The program dealt not only with banks and other corporations, but also with Jewish young men on college campuses and in early stages of their careers. Many of these young Jews regarded banking as a field that was closed to them.

A grant from the Leon C. Sunstein Foundation in 1966 made possible the employment on a half-time basis of a professional personnel consultant for this program. Additional grants in 1968 from the Harry Kahn Foundation, the Sunstein Foundation, and from several banks and business organizations resulted in full-time staff employment.

Describing the day-to-day activities of the executive advisory program, Mr. Appelbaum said, “It includes meeting with top level officials of business organizations, individual counselling with Jewish students and persons seeking advice in their careers, seminars with executives and campus recruitment officials, day-to-day discussion with placement officials both in the companies and on campus and, most important of all, close follow-up.” The latest survey of personnel practices in Philadelphia banking, done early this year, includes figures not only on bank officers and directors, but on junior management personnel as well, and indicates that almost eight percent of college trainees hired in the past decade were Jews.

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