Bank Watch

Mooresville native, ex-Morgan Stanley CEO shares optimism about Trump

Former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, left, speaks during a Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday.
Former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, left, speaks during a Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday.

Former Morgan Stanley CEO and Mooresville native John Mack spoke in his old hometown Tuesday, where he expressed optimism that President Trump will ease “intrusive” regulatory oversight of the financial sector.

Mack, who was head of the New York banking giant before and during the financial crisis, discussed the crisis, Trump and his local family ties during a talk at a Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce event.

On Trump, Mack said he and his wife, Christy Rose, know the new president and have spent time with him, including attending a Duke University basketball game together years ago.

“So we took him down to Cameron Stadium ... and he said to Christy walking in, ‘You know within 10 minutes I’m going to be more popular than the Duke basketball team,’” said Mack. “And sure enough, all of a sudden these kids were holding up signs, ‘Hire me, Mr. Trump.’”

Mack, 72, now lives in New York. But his family’s name remains prominent in Mooresville, where the Macks settled after immigrating to the U.S. from Lebanon at the turn of the 19th century.

Mack was born in Mooresville to parents who ran a wholesale grocery, clothing and general store, John Mack & Sons. Today, the citizen center in the middle of town is named after Mack’s father, Charles.

Charles put his son, the youngest of six boys, to work at an early age in the family business, Mack said.

“I wasn’t 6 or 7 years old and my father, once I could recognize the difference between Hershey’s bars with nuts and Hershey’s bars that were plain, or I could set up Lucky Strikes versus Camels, I could set up orders to be delivered out the next day,” Mack said. “Everyone in the family worked. That was just part of the ethic.”

Mack attended Mooresville High School and later Duke on a football scholarship, graduating with a bachelor’s in history. But he would embark on a career in financial services that would take him to the top of one of the nation’s largest banks.

That bank, Morgan Stanley, tottered during the financial crisis, which Mack blamed in part on deregulation. But new restrictions imposed on banks since the crisis have gone too far, creating “absolutely intrusive” regulatory oversight that Trump could lessen, Mack said.

“I think President Trump will deregulate a number of things, and I’m optimistic he does it.”

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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