Charles A. Agemian, once among the industry's most colorful executives, died Saturday in Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune, N.J.
He was 86 and had been ill for several years.
Mr. Agemian once quipped that he had an early-warning system for making loans. "If the potential borrower doesn't haggle over the prices of the loan, then don't make the loan," the banker said. "That means he doesn't intend to repay."
Born in Aleppo, Syria, Mr. Agemian emigrated with his family to the United States in 1914. His banking career began in 1927 when he went to work as a messenger for Bank of Manhattan Co.
He worked in the bank's auditing, accounting, cashier, and operations departments, rising to executive vice president of operations at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1963, a post he held until his retirement in 1969.
He the took over as chairman and chief executive of Hackensack Trust Corp., which later changed its name to Garden State National Bank and was taken over by Fidelity Union Bancorp. of Newark, N.J.
He retired from Garden State in 1981 but remained active as a faculty member at the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and Pace University.
He also had been on several boards of directors, including that of Sterling National Bank, New York.
Mr. Agemian is survived by his wife, Mary, two daughters, six grandchildren, and a sister.