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Joseph W. Mosmiller, retired Loyola Federal bank executive and president, dies

Joseph W. Mosmiller was a benefactor of Catholic educational charities.
Joseph W. Mosmiller was a benefactor of Catholic educational charities.

Joseph W. Mosmiller, who headed the old Loyola Federal Savings and Loan Association, raised funds for Catholic schools and was a champion of the Mount Vernon neighborhood, died of a cardiovascular condition Sept. 22 at St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Home. The Ten Hills and Catonsville resident was 84.

Born in Baltimore and raised on South Stricker Street, he was the son of Charles A. Mosmiller, a Washington Post pressman, and his wife, Mary Flahavan. He attended St. Martin’s School and was a 1954 graduate of Loyola High School at Blakefield. He earned an undergraduate degree at what was then Mount St. Mary’s College and was also a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.

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He served in the Maryland National Guard and joined Loyola Federal Savings and Loan Association in its mortgage banking division. He worked initially at its Howard Street office in downtown Baltimore.

He went on his first date with his future wife, Clare Marie Synan, at his high school Easter Monday dance at the Alcazar on Cathedral Street. They married in 1957.

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Mr. Mosmiller rose through the ranks at the bank and was named its president in 1974. He became chair and chief executive officer three years later. After the bank made a public stock offering, he was named chair of Loyola Capital Corp.

“It was to honor to have worked for such an honest individual,” said James McAveney, former Loyola Federal executive. “He had a knack for making the right decision. He was an outstanding leader. He did things the right way.”

In 1995 Loyola Federal merged with Crestar Financial Corp., based in Richmond, Virginia.

A 1995 Sun article said the sale of the bank “signals the end of an era for Baltimore’s thrift industry.”

“The 59-year-old Mr. Mosmiller more than tripled the size of Loyola Federal since becoming president in 1974 and built the institution into the second largest thrift in the state with $2.6 billion in assets," the article said. "He also steered Loyola Federal through Maryland’s savings and loan debacle in the 1980s, and its real estate crisis in the early 1990s.”

Hugh W. Mohler, a retired banker and friend, said: “Joe was outstanding. He was bright, a good businessman, and a good family man as well. When other savings and loans were expanding in the 1980s, Joe had the foresight not to grow too much. In the end, he survived the times tremendously.”

The Sun article said Mr. Mosmiller navigated the bank away from commercial real estate lending because as a young loan officer with the company he saw firsthand how those loans could blow up if underwritten poorly. The news story also said Mr. Mosmiller was initially criticized for getting out of the commercial real estate market.

He was a past president of the Maryland Savings and Loan League and served on the boards of the United States League of Savings Associations, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Baltimore Branch.

Friends said Mr. Mosmiller was an early proponent of rebuilding Baltimore’s older neighborhoods. He joined the board of Neighborhood Housing Services and oversaw the rehabilitation of homes in the Butchers Hill and Patterson Park communities, among other Southeast Baltimore neighborhoods.

He also sat on the board of the Housing Opportunities Foundation and headed the Charles Street Management Corporation. He worked with Mayor William Donald Schaefer to keep the commercial portions of Charles Street, from Pennsylvania Station to the Washington Monument in good repair.

He also worked with University of Baltimore President H. Mebane Turner to raise funds for what is now called the Modell Lyric Opera House.

He sat on the board of the old Hutzler’s department stores, where his bank had branch offices.

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Mr. Mosmiller raised funds for the Lawrence Cardinal Sheehan Scholarship Fund, the St. Agnes Hospital Foundation, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Loyola High School and Archbishop Keough High School.

He received the Roman Catholic papal honor, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, in 1990.

Mr. Mosmiller had a winter home in Naples, Florida, where he played golf and enjoyed bike riding. He was also a Chesapeake Bay fisherman.

Survivors include two sons, John Mosmiller of Towson and Mark Mosmiller of Westminster; two daughters, Sheila Vidmar of Locust Point and Susan Elliott of Ellicott City; two brothers, Charles “Skip” Mosmiller of Pasadena and Thomas Mosmiller of Oakland, California; and 10 grandchildren. His wife of more than 50 years, who was active in Catholic educational charities, died in 2008.

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