A Million Dollar Murder
Jacques Mossler had lived the American dream. The son of Romanian immigrants, he grew up in
Mossler went around with pockets bulging with jangling coins - the sweet sound of the young loansharks vigorish. As he reached adulthood, Mossler graduated from newsboy to auto mechanic, but that job was a stepping stone. His initiative earned him an opportunity to sell cars at a
In 1895, the year Mossler was born, four autos were registered in
During the 1920s, Ford, Chevrolet and other manufacturers cranked out cars for a population crazy with automobiles. Every family had to have one, whether they could afford it or not. Mossler was positioned to cash in on a companion craze: consumer credit.
He saw installment loans as a legalized form of his old street-corner loansharking. Interest was the vigorish in a starched collar. After the Great Depression, Mossler founded a string of small financing companies that tapped the expanding installment loan market. This led him into the related banking and insurance businesses.
By the end of World War II, Mossler had assembled more than 40 bank, finance and insurance firms that were waiting when returning soldiers needed credit to buy houses, cars and refrigerators. His firms, clustered around
His lending firms used a credit-friendly slogan that echoes in television commercials today: The Yes Banks.