Former MBA President Cliff Cameron Passes Away

Charles Clifford (“Cliff”) Cameron, CMB, former president and CEO of First Union National Bank (now part of Wells Fargo) and a past president (chairman) of the Mortgage Bankers Association, passed away in Charlotte on May 28. He was 96.

Mr. Cameron also served as state budget director in North Carolina under former Gov. Jim Martin (R), and played a key role in elevating Charlotte as a banking capital.

“Cliff Cameron’s visionary leadership was a major reason why Charlotte is the financial center that it is today,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said in a statement. “As a decorated veteran, his devotion to his country and state serves as an example to us all. He was also a genuine public servant not only for the Charlotte community, but for the entire state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Mr. Cameron was born in Meridian, Miss. on January 4, 1920 to the late Daniel Baker Cameron and Bertha Morris Cameron. He graduated from Meridian High School in 1937 and from Louisiana State University in 1941 with honors in Chemical Engineering. During World War II he served in the European Theater as an artillery officer, rising to Lieutenant Colonel and earning a Bronze Star. In 1945, he commanded a mortar battalion in World War II that met up with the Russians at the Elbe River.

Following the war, Mr. Cameron joined Standard Oil (Exxon) in Baton Rouge, La. as a chemical engineer; he later left the oil industry and, with Army buddy James Poyner, co-founded Cameron-Brown Mortgage Co. in Raleigh, N.C., which eventually became part of First Union. He served as president and CEO of First Union from 1966-1984. He was known for his aggressive growth strategies, as was Hugh McColl Jr. of NCNB, which led to Charlotte becoming widely known as national banking center. NCNB would become Bank of America; First American would become part of Wells Fargo.

During this period, Mr. Cameron became involved with MBA, serving on numerous committees and eventually becoming its president (chairman) in 1964-65. He also served with the Federal Reserve of Richmond (Va.).

In 1984 Mr. Cameron turned over First Union to Ed Crutchfield; he retired as a director of the company in 1991.

Mr. Cameron remained very active in the Charlotte community, besides serving in the Martin Administration, he served as a distinguished board member for multiple academic institutions including chairman of the UNC Board of Governors and member of the Board of Trustees at both Wake Forest University and Meredith College and serving as the Chairman of the University Research Park in Charlotte. Cliff also served as a Deacon and Elder for Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte and First Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Mr. Cameron was predeceased by his parents, his brother, Daniel Cameron Jr., his first wife and mother of his four children, Yvonne Smith Cameron, and his second wife of 34 years, Sara Anderson Cameron. He is survived by his four children: daughter Sheryl Cameron Worth (Tom) of Raleigh and son Randolph M. Cameron (Nancy), twin daughters Cynthia Cameron and Cathy Cameron Sigmon, all of Cornelius, N.C. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte on June 1 at 11:00 a.m. ET. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked memorials be sent to the Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, 1420 East Seventh Street, Charlotte, NC 28204, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Cameron Scholars Endowment, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28220 or to the charity of your choice.