William S. Latoff, the Downingtown accountant, developer, banking and local-government board member, died this morning after a battle with cancer. He was chairman and chief executive of DNB Financial Corp. and Downingtown National Bank, whose President, William J. Heib, sends this statement:
"It is with great sadness that we learned this morning of Bill Latoff's passing. Bill has served as CEO of DNB Financial Corporation since 2004 and, through his vision and leadership, did so much to build and strengthen our company. Never satisfied with business and financial success alone, Bill's generosity and concern for others were the driving force behind DNB First's deep commitment to our community. All of us at DNB will miss him greatly, and we extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Mary, and family."
DNB will meet soon to figure out who will succeed Latoff. Among his community involvements, Latoff (la-TOFF) was a past Chairman of the Chester County Industrial Development Authority and the Chester County Library Trust Board, Chairman of the Nominating Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and was honored for his contriibutions to the Chester County Historical Society and the Foundation for Catholic Education, and the Chester County Council Boy Scouts of America.
In a 2014 interview, Latoff told me: "My father (an immigrant from Lebanon) walked me into this office at the old Downingtown National Bank to open an account, holding my hand.
"Later on I came back to Chester County, to work in an accounting and consulting firm. I went on to invest in various businesses and banks. I learned there was a great opportunity here."
He invested in mutual savings banks and prospered as they sold shares and went public. He invested in commercial real esate, and high-end auto dealerships -- Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar. In the late 1990s, "the chairman of this bank, an old friend, called me and said, 'We'd like you to be involved.' I am now the largest shareholder...
"Our names are in the phone book. Our telephone numbers are readily available. Our customers go to the same churches we do. When they wish to get decisions, we are readily available. That's something you can't get in a big bank. Here you can speak to the chairman. To me."