For the first time in five years a bank based in Washington’s thriving suburbs is opening a branch inside the city limits.

Eagle Bancorp, the three-year-old Bethesda, Md., holding company for Eagle Bank, said last Monday that it will open a branch at 20th and K streets in the District of Columbia’s downtown commercial district. Thomas Murphy, president and chief executive officer of the $183 million-asset company, said the branch is to be opened late in May.

Stephen Kensinger, who was hired by Eagle this month to be a vice president and the regional manager for the District of Columbia, said Eagle considered expanding into Northern Virginia before setting its sights on Washington.

“D.C. is really experiencing a boom now, and we expect that growth to continue,” said Mr. Kensinger, who worked for 15 years at Riggs National Corp., which is based in McLean, Va., but has Washington’s largest deposit market share.

For now, at least, Eagle has shelved its plan to move into Northern Virginia. Mr. Murphy said he is so enthusiastic about prospects in Washington, including the opportunity to attract business from the scores of legal, architectural, and engineering firms headquartered there, that he is already considering further expansion in the city.

“The chances of us opening another branch in the District of Columbia are as good as or better than those of us opening one in Montgomery County,” where Bethesda is, Mr. Murphy said.

The last Maryland-based bank to open a branch in the city was Bethesda-based Sequoia National Bank, in 1996. At the time, Sequoia said its was the first de novo branch in the city in “many years.”

Eagle’s announcement capped a bittersweet month for banking in Washington. It came nine days after Countrywide Credit Industries Inc. of Calabasas, Calif., said it had gotten permission from federal regulators to complete its deal for $89 million-asset Treasury Bank, Washington’s only city-chartered bank. Countrywide plans to move Treasury’s headquarters to Alexandria, Va., after the deal closes this year.

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