Community Banks Mark Second Year Profitability
Washington Business Journal (08/17/00) Vol. 104, No. 40 p.9; Winig, Eric

The booming economy of the late 1990s has brought community banks back to life from the recession of the early 1990s, including two banks started in mid-1998 in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Bethesda, Md.-based EagleBank and Vienna-based Potomac Bank of Virginia are both celebrating their second profitable year in business and look forward to improving business by focusing on local businesses and professionals that the large banks seem to ignore. However, Bob Pincus, president of the D.C. metro region for North Carolina-based BB&T, says the booming economy is responsible for the success of small banks, which are having to hire employees from a dwindling pool of talent. Lew Sosnowick, vice president at Bethesda-based Koonce Securities, disagrees with Pincus, and adds that many of the experienced bank executives are leaving the newly merged mega-banks to begin their own community banks. Sosnowick also says that small banks must identify and stick to a niche market, have strong management, and know their market, despite a strong economy. According to Larry Warren, CEO of Potomac Bank, the good economy has helped small banks, but a lot of the success comes from the lessons learned during the recession of the early 1990s.

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