The West End Guide - May 2005
"It’s our premise that banking is a local business," said Curtin Winsor III, chairman of the Bank of Georgetown, which recently opened its first branch at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street, in the Ritz-Carlton complex.
The local enterprise is only the second bank to be chartered by the District of Columbia, under a law passed in 2004.
"It’s more appropriate for a smaller, community bank," Winsor told the Guide. "We’re talking about a business where we have a hands-on understanding and responsiveness to our customers’ needs."
The bank has been capitalized with $15 million. The District of Columbia Banking Code requires an initial capitalization of at least $6 million. According to Winsor, the funds were raised from 165 shareholders.
On the bank’s 13-member board of directors is Anthony Lanier, president of EastBanc, Inc., which has developed a number of real estate projects in the West End and Georgetown.
According to Winsor, Lanier "doesn’t own any more stock than anyone else." Among the other 12 board members are bankers, lawyers, and business professionals. Three of the board members were previously affiliated with the Bethesda-based SequoiaBank, which was acquired by United Bank, a West Virginia firm, in October 2002.
The bank’s president and chief operating officer is Michael P. Fitzgerald, who was formerly a senior vice president of Sequoia.
Fitzgerald is a member of the board, as are Michael McCarthy and John Ryan, the two founding directors of Sequoia.
Winsor, who chairs the board, is a former director of Riggs Investment Management Corporation, and a co-founder of Columbia Partners, the District’s largest investment management firm.
Another Columbia Partners executive, Terence W. Collins, also sits on the Bank of Georgetown board.
"We think Georgetown is underserved and has a very dynamic business community," Winsor told the Guide. "It has a positive identity with other Washingtonians. But we don’t want to be just a Georgetown bank."
In addition to the Georgetown branch, which has the address of 1001 Wisconsin Avenue but a main entrance on K Street, the bank has leased space for a second branch in Friendship Heights.
"We hope to eventually have eight to nine branches in the District after several years," Winsor said.
The bank offers a full line of retail banking services, including Internet banking, but Winsor said it will concentrate on business loans rather than home mortgages.
"For loans of $5 million or less," he told the Guide, "the larger banks have not dedicated the resources to serve the needs of those businesses. That’s our niche."
Copyright 2005, The West End Guide.