Connecticut group applies for national bank charter

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A group with ties to a veteran banker has applied to open a national bank in Connecticut.

Nexos National Bank would be based in Stamford, according to a public notice in the Stamford Advocate. The group has filed applications with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Organizers plan to raise about $34 million in initial capital, the notice said. Nexos would operate as a unit of Nexos Financial.

Gordon Baird, a former Citigroup executive, would serve as the bank's CEO. Kathy Ramagnano, who had been president and CEO of Savings Bank of Danbury, is set to become Nexos' president and chief operating officer, Baird said.

The proposed bank’s board includes Richard Neiman, a former banking commissioner for New York.

"This is something we've been working on for a while," Baird, managing partner at investment management firm G.A. Baird Partners, said in an interview. Stamford "is a pretty exciting market outside of New York City."

Nexos would start with one branch in Stamford, where it plans to court "technology-aware consumers" and "technology-integrated business" clients, according to the group's Nov. 21 application with the FDIC.

Organizers "believe that the focused service area represents a large and deep banking market, with a growing and diverse customer base that represents multiple socioeconomic and demographic groups, small and medium-size businesses and a growing need and desire for modern, competitively priced banking services," the application said.

Nexos is working with several tech firms to incorporate digital offerings, Baird said.

"Technology is a competitive advantage," he said, declining to discuss specific initiatives. "There's a lot of transition going on."

Baird said there are no plans to replicate a business model he tried to implement as CEO of Independent Bancshares, a small South Carolina bank that tried to reinvent itself as a tech startup. Under Baird's watch, the bank in 2013 created a division, nD Bancgroup, to focus on developing a payments system.

After incurring nearly $9 million in expenses, Independent killed the payments project and parted ways with Baird in 2015. Indepence sold itself earlier this year to First Reliance Bancshares.

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