A decade ago, Maryland's three largest banks were based in Baltimore.
Allfirst, the biggest with nearly $17 billion in assets, fell victim to a foreign-exchange trading scandal that resulted in the bank being sold to a New York institution. Out-of-state competitors bought out the other two several years later.
Throughout that time, Sandy Spring Bank in Olney operated and grew in their shadow. Today, it's the largest bank headquartered in Maryland, with assets at nearly $4 billion as of the end of last year.
President and CEO Daniel J. Schrider has watched Maryland's banking landscape change. He started at Sandy Spring in 1989 as a commercial loan officer and worked his way up the ladder. Like many banking experts, he expects more consolidation in the industry here. And, he said, Sandy Spring also could expand into the Baltimore market.
I grew up in a banking family, as my father was a local banker for over 40 years and banking tended to be the topic of dinner conversations after accounting for all of the 10 children that were supposed to be at the table. After spending seven years as a part-time butcher and falling in love with customer interaction, I made the transition to banking immediately after college — apart from using a sharp knife and wearing an apron, the client interaction was similar.
After 20 years with Sandy Spring, you became president and CEO of the bank in January 2009, when the economy was in a deep crisis. What were the challenges the bank faced then, and what are they today?
At the beginning of 2009, our industry faced great uncertainty due to the sudden economic collapse, unprecedented regulatory reform, and the confidence of consumers was rattled based on what they heard on the local news. At this time, we focused on the things we could control: how we interacted with our clients, how we treated our wonderful employees and deciding to become a greater part of community than ever before. Our folks responded, as did our clients, and we recovered quickly due to an extremely loyal client, employee and shareholder base. Today, we are much stronger for it. Not only financially, but a culture that is truly unique in our business. Many of the economic and regulatory challenges continue, but our purpose is clear and we are poised for the future. We believe that our best days are ahead.
Many in banking say institutions must have at least a $1 billion in assets to thrive, but the vast majority of Maryland-based banks have less than $500 million. Are we headed for a wave of mergers, and what will Maryland's banking landscape look like in five years?
That is a great question, and I don't have the answer. I believe that the answer is unique for each bank and is based on what they believe is best for their clients and shareholders. I do believe that there will be consolidation over the next five years, but only when it is a win-win — that is, a win for both banks and their customers. One thing is clear to me: Marylanders benefit from banks of all sizes and capabilities.
About a decade ago, the three largest banks in Maryland were headquartered in Baltimore. Since then, they have been acquired by out-of-state competitors. Has Sandy Spring benefited from this, and would it consider branching into Baltimore?
Without question, we benefit from consolidation of larger institutions because of the disruption caused for their clients and employees. Many of the acquisitions are made by larger, out-of-market banks. When this happens, Sandy Spring wins. We are from here and our strategy is for here — making our communities a better place to live, work and raise a family. Given our presence in Howard and northern Anne Arundel counties, the Baltimore market is one that we continue to evaluate and consider.
You are No. 9 out of 10 children. How did that shape you?
There are many life lessons learned from being in a large family. First, I learned what sacrifice looked like as I watched my parents give of themselves in order for their children to have more than they ever did. For survival, I learned to share, be compassionate, think of others before myself — not because I did these things, but because I watch it lived out in Mike, Brenda, Trish, John, Sandy, Rob, Dave, Laurie and Jenny.