A 108-year-old Carroll County community bank has expanded into Howard County, but the new branch office won't have to build its busi ness base from scratch.
Taneytown Bank & Trust Co. Executive Vice President Frank W. Neubauer Jr. said he and several new Taneytown Bank lending officers with connections in Howard will be able to strengthen their local ties to generate loan activity. Mr. Neubauer worked more than 20 years for Howard County banks.
"This is a natural extension to continue relationships," said Mr. Neubauer, who left First American Bank of Maryland's Columbia operation in March to head Taneytown Bank's lending division. "It's difficult to service businesses there from [Carroll County]. In essence, we opened a service office to facilitate relations."
The Taneytown Bank branch, in the Clark Building in Columbia's hTC Town Center, celebrated its official opening Monday. The bank will focus "almost exclusively" on commercial accounts -- loans for businesses and residential builders, and home mortgage loans, said Mr. Neubauer, who works out of the bank's corporate offices in Taneytown.
"We're looking to generate loan volume out of that office," he said.
In addition to Mr. Neubauer, Taneytown Bank also hired C. Alan Jefferson to manage the Columbia branch, and Mike Schoenfeld and Christopher Holt to work as commercial lenders in the real estate construction and small- and medium-sized business markets. The three new employees previously worked for First American Bank of Maryland.
Mr. Neubauer worked at Columbia Bank & Trust Co. from 1970 to 1982 before joining First American.
The Taneytown Bank branch also will offer regular banking services for individual customers.
Mr. Neubauer and Taneytown Bank marketing representative Michael L. Barrett said the Columbia branch will strive to continue the community banking tradition established at the institution's six Carroll County branches.
In an age when banks are merging and becoming larger institutions, Mr. Neubauer said community banks such as Taneytown Bank will be able to maintain their niche in the industry.
"People are looking for a level of service community banks can provide that they can't get from larger banks," he said. "Around here, you're not a number, but a name. It sounds corny, but it's true."
In Carroll, Taneytown Bank has focused on mortgage loans for families, supporting community institutions, such as the hospital and schools, and promoting business development. Mr. Neubauer said the bank has a head start in Howard because of his affiliations with the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, the philanthropic Columbia Foundation, Columbia Housing Corp., Howard County General Hospital and other community groups.
The bank has made a five-year commitment to contribute to the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund, which was established recently to provide seed money for small businesses.
While the Taneytown bank focuses on its assets as a community institution, it also has taken steps to upgrade its technology and resources to compare with larger banks, said Mr. Barrett. It has implemented a data processing system so market research doesn't have to be farmed out.
The bank also was approved this year as a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, which will allow it to provide longer-term, lower-cost mortgage loans to homeowners, Mr. Barrett said.