David C. Wills was sworn in as a member of the Federal Reserve Board on September 29, 1920. His term expired on March 4, 1921.
Wills was born in 1872 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Allegheny High School in 1889, he began working as a messenger at Mechanics National Bank. In 1902, Wills became an auditor at Mellon National Bank. He held this title until 1904, when he accepted a job as cashier of the Diamond National Bank. He was later promoted to bank director. While working at Diamond National, Wills also became president of Citizens National Bank in 1907. Located in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, Citizens National was his first employer outside of Pittsburgh.
In 1914, Wills left his jobs as director and president of the Pennsylvania banks to serve as chairman of the board of directors and Federal Reserve agent at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He was chairman of the board at the Cleveland Fed twice: once from October 8, 1914, to September 20, 1920, and again from March 5, 1921 to October 22, 1925.
Wills may have been known more for his personality than his banking knowledge. An article about him in Association Men, a magazine published by the Young Men’s Christian Associations of North America (YMCA), referred to him as “the man with a million friends.” 1 The glowing portrait of Wills included advice from the banker on how to befriend others. The secret, according to Wills, is being more interested in others than yourself.
Wills was a trustee of Westminster College, the first president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Banking, and a leader or member of many civic organizations. He also wrote an article, "The Federal Reserve and Sound Finance," which was published in 1922.
Wills died in 1925.
Cushing, Benjamin E. Association Men, vol. 45, pp. 145-46, accessed July 2013.
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.