In Memoriam: C. William (Bill) Criss, 78
Helped Grow Chase in California
His career began with the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. He moved with Chase to California in 1976, after posts in Tokyo and London, to its Los Angeles office, where he was Director of Credit and Marketing. He became the market manager for San Francisco, where he opened the first Chase offices in 1981.
He left Chase in 1988 to start the EastWest Bank, N. A. in Honolulu, Hawaii. He served as Chairman and CEO. In 1992, he returned to San Francisco where he was part of the founding team that purchased Bank of San Francisco.
In 1995, he returned to the Chase Manhattan Bank to run its private bank in the Western Region and became Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Trust Company of California. After mergers with Hambrecht and Quist and JP Morgan, Bill became Chief Credit Officer for the Western Region of the merged private banking operations in California and COO of the JP Morgan Trust Company, NA. He retired from JPMorgan Chase in 2004 and joined Deutsche Bank and its Private Wealth Management Group as the Office Director of the San Francisco office.
Criss joined HSBC Bank, USA, NA in June 2005 as a Managing Director of HSBC Private Bank in San Francisco, adding to a career in banking spanning 35 years.
Criss was a director of the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Performances, the Stern Grove Festival, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
He is survived by his wife, Cerina, son Darren, the actor and singer, and three grandchildren. His son Charles died in 2022.
From Karl H. Schmidt: I was saddened to learn that Bill Criss passed. I knew Bill from covering Japanese automotive companies in California in the 1980s. Bill was a good colleague, always having the interest of the bank on his mind, but he was equally appreciated by his client.
Bill was very good in bridging the cultural differences with the bank's Japanese clients. I always enjoyed working with him. May he Rest In Peace.