In Memoriam: Paul Tongue, 87
Former Vice Chair of Chase USA
Paul Graham Tongue, former vice chair of Chase (USA) Bank, the credit card subsidiary of Chase Manhattan that he helped create, and Chase Manhattan's SVP of International Consumer Banking, died unexpectedly on July 7, 2020, at his home in Williamsburg, VA, at the age of 87.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Paul graduated from Central High School and earned a BS degree in Commerce from Drexel University, followed by an MBA from New York University. He and his wife, Marjorie, were married in 1954 in Albuquerque, NM, where he served in the U.S. Army at Sandia Base during the Korean War. He was assigned to the Special Weapons Command where he taught electric circuitry.
In 1957, he joined the Chase Manhattan Bank, where he served for over 30 years in a variety of managerial positions in Operations, Data Processing and Consumer Banking. In the early 1970s, beginning with a fledgling plastic card, he expanded the bank’s consumer credit card business into a major force in consumer banking nationwide. When government regulation limited the growth of the credit card business in New York, he spearheaded the establishment of the Chase (USA) Bank in Wilmington, DE.
At the time of his retirement in 1987, he was Senior Vice President in charge of the International Consumer Banking Group in London, UK, with responsibility for the development and administration of retail banking activities in some 20 countries. His expertise in the consumer credit business led to further opportunities, first as Executive Vice President of software company Veritas Venture, Inc., and later with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).
He was a founding member of the Bank Card Division of the American Bankers Association, and chaired the Consumer Banking Division of the New York State Bankers Association.
Upon moving to Ford's Colony in 1992, he served on the boards of the Williamsburg Symphonia League and the Williamsburg Symphonia, now the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra. He was also involved in the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, Williamsburg Area Performing Arts Center, Colonial Area Republican Men's Association and The Middle Plantation Club. From 2001 to 2003, he served as President of First Night Williamsburg. He was a trustee for the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, and his many interests included classical music, the opera, golfing and, especially, fishing.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or to the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra.
Among his survivors are his wife, Marge, and daughter, Suzanne. He was predeceased by his son, Douglas, also a Chase alumnus, in 2008.
(L-R) L.R. Kugelman, Frank Shea and Paul G. Tongue at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza-3B on 11/28/1962 with the RCA 51 Computer, which handled D.D.A. and check processing transactions. It had been purchased by Bob O'Keefe and Bill Shine.
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I had the good fortune to be in the same line of work as Paul Tongue. That gave me the opportunity to get to know him very well. We sat on various committees together, and, after he retired, I had the extreme good fortune to have him join our consulting practice.
He was a brilliant man. He could sift through the clutter surrounding a problem and with amazing speed be able to sort out the critical factors and explain the solution.
He owes me dozens of one dollar bills which he took from me in frequent liar’s poker games.
I, in turn, owe him credit for the dozens of jokes he told me over the years.
I will miss him. Paul Tongue was a giant of a man in so many ways.
I worked for Paul at that time until early 1963. Although I was just a teenager then, he always treated me with the utmost respect and even laughed at my one-liners from time to time. He frequently expressed an interest in my well-being and my general progress as a young man. His attention to detail and retention thereof was impressive. Some 25 years later, he even remembered the first and last names of the girls I had dated as a teenager!
He was truly a good man. R.I.P.