Harold "Hal" Greenwood, the former president and CEO of Midwest Federal Savings and Loan and a central figure in the savings and loan crisis of the mid-1980s, has died at age 89.
Greenwood found a kind of redemption later in life when, after a prison term, he moved to Grand Marais, Minn., where he earned respect as a civic leader active in local business and politics.
He died of heart and kidney failure at North Shore Health in Grand Marais on Nov. 19, family members said.
In that North Shore community, he served as chairman of the Cook County Revolving Loan Fund, a promoter of affordable housing and lender of last resort for businesses in the area; founded and led the Cook County School Education Foundation and founded the Cook County Chamber of Commerce.
Greenwood was also longtime chairman of the Planning and Zoning and Public Utilities commissions for the city of Grand Marais.
Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce, said Greenwood was a larger-than-life, well-respected civic leader.
"Around here he was considered a good person who contributed a heck of a lot to the community," Boyd said. "He had his finger in a lot of pies, a lot of do-good pies, including economic development and housing."
Greenwood was active in both civic affairs and politics in the region. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Grand Marais in 2002. Just as earlier in life he had been a friend and supporter of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, later in life he was close to political figures such as state Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook (now an independent), and state Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls.
Greenwood grew up in south Minneapolis, graduated from Southwest High School in 1950 and married his wife, Carol, in 1952.
He dropped out of the University of Minnesota and worked as an Edina police officer before joining his father in the banking business in 1955. In 1963, he succeeded his father, Harold Greenwood Sr., as president of what was then known as Minneapolis Savings & Loan.
In 1992, Greenwood was found guilty of 25 felony counts related to the failure of Midwest Federal Savings & Loan, a scheme that reportedly cost taxpayers $1.2 billion. He was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million.
William Mauzy, Greenwood's attorney during that period, told the Star Tribune in a 2002 article about Greenwood's run for mayor of Grand Marais that Greenwood had passed his time in prison by teaching business classes to other inmates, lowering his weight and cholesterol, and reading about business and politics.
Released from prison in 1995, he retired with Carol to their home in Grand Marais. There he hosted a number of community events and fundraisers. It was also where Greenwood and others founded the Cook County Chamber, according to Boyd. "He was where things happened here," Boyd said.
Greenwood was preceded in death by his wife and is survived by their children. A memorial service will be held in 2021, after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926