Leon I. Snyder
Trained as an investigator during World War II, he went into collections field, founded his own firm with his wife
Leon Isaac Snyder, who owned a debt collection business and was a national official in his field, died of heart disease Nov. 25 at Arlington West Nursing Center. The resident of Northwest Baltimore’s Glen neighborhood was 95.
Born in Baltimore and raised on East Baltimore Street, he was the son of Dr. Samuel Snyder, a general practitioner, and his wife, Ethel. He was a graduate of the University of Baltimore.
He married his high school sweetheart, Beatrice Levin, whom he met when she was a Western High School student.
Mr. Snyder served in the Army during World War II and was assigned to San Francisco, where he lived at the Presidio.
“It turned out he could type, and his commander took him out on a call one day. The commander was impressed with my father and sent him to the Army investigators school,” said his son, Dr. Richard H. Snyder, chair of internal medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
A sergeant, he was assigned to the criminal investigation division of the provost marshal in the Western Command.
After his military service, he went into the debt collections field in Baltimore.
“My father was a natural investigator and kept up his license throughout most of his life,” said his son, who lives in Macon, Georgia. “As part of his business he would meet people at their homes. He called them credit adjustment calls. He asked the right questions, had an empathy for his clients and tried to get to the bottom of things.”
Mr. Snyder became the assistant loan manager at Universal Finance Company and held the same post at the old Schleisner women’s apparel firm at Howard and Saratoga streets. He later joined Blum’s Department Store and became the credit operations manager of Baltimore Credit Service.
In 1958, he founded the Credit Adjustment Bureau of Baltimore Inc. at his home.
“He founded it with my mother on the dining room table of our home on Pembridge Avenue,” his son said. “He didn’t talk about his business much. He was serious and worked long hours. It was his life. My mom worked alongside him and ran the office. They were a great pair.”
Mr. Snyder later bought a property on West Belvedere and Chalgrove avenues to house his operation, which collected debts for Baltimore department stores, as well as banks and utilities in the Middle Atlantic area and the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co.
He worked as a collection agency and did consumer adjustments. He also investigated credit fraud.
Mr. Snyder worked until he was 82.
Mr. Snyder was a past national president of The American Collectors Associations Inc. and the past national chairman of the American Collectors Association Education Council. He was a past director of the Baltimore Consumer Credit Association.
He also ran collection industry training seminars and taught accounts recovery and management seminars to owners, managers and employees of collection agencies.
He worked on the creation of the Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Law and met with Maryland legislators to adopt a bill to license collection agencies. He was later appointed to the Collection Agency Licensing Board and served 24 years.
Mr. Snyder participated in the development of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, a federal law.
He was the recipient of the American Collectors Association’s Paul Bunyan Award. He wrote articles in trade publications relating to the collections field.
Mr. Snyder was a past commander of American Legion Post Number 32.
He was chairman of the board and president of the Beth Jacob Congregation and prepared and presented pulpit talks when clergy was away.
“He loved working at Beth Jacob. He felt very close to the synagogue,” his son said.
In addition to his son, survivors include four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His wife of nearly 70 years, Beatrice Levin, died in 2011. A daughter, Elaine Abendroth, died in 2001.
Services were held Nov. 26 at Arlington Cemetery of Chizuk Amuno Congregation.
Leon Snyder and his wife founded the Credit Adjustment Bureau of Baltimore Inc.