TCF Financial is mourning the loss of Executive Chairman and former CEO William A. Cooper, who passed away at age 73.

Cooper served as CEO for nearly 30 years.

“The entire TCF family is deeply saddened by the passing of Bill Cooper and we will miss his passion for our company, its people and his strong leadership of our board of directors,” said Craig R. Dahl, TCF’s vice chairman and chief executive officer. “Bill leaves a remarkable legacy on TCF and the communities we serve. From the time he became our CEO in 1985, when TCF was a struggling savings & loan, to leading us to be the strong, independent and growing company it is today, Bill transformed our company more than once and mentored many great leaders. Over 30 years, Bill showed tremendous leadership and courage, pioneering numerous innovations in the banking industry and establishing a rich tradition of philanthropy and community involvement within TCF. We will miss him greatly.”

Vance Opperman, lead director for TCF’s Board of Directors, added, “Bill was not only an outstanding leader for TCF, but he was a great friend. He was truly one-of-a-kind and one of the most creative and innovative leaders in the banking industry. Bill helped to transform the banking industry and created greater access to the banking system for working and middle class families through innovations like free checking and debit cards, seven day a week banking, and bank branches in supermarkets – ideas that were largely unheard of in banking until he made them popular. He came from a very modest background and never lost touch with the importance of creating opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, particularly through education. One of his greatest legacies is Friends of Education, a network of charter schools in greater Minneapolis that provide high quality education to thousands of students, many of whom come from some of the poorest communities.”

Cooper was born in 1943 and grew up in Detroit. He began his career in banking as an assistant treasurer at Michigan National Bank. Later, he went on to serve as president of Huntington Bank in Columbus, Ohio and as president of American Savings and Loan Association. In 1985, Cooper was appointed chief executive officer of Twin Cities Federal, which later became TCF.