Former WashingtonFirst execs plan new bank in Northern Virginia

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Organizers with ties to WashingtonFirst Bankshares are planning a new bank in Northern Virginia.

The group, led by former WashingtonFirst CEO Shaza Andersen, plans to submit an application to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in early March. The bank would be based in Fairfax County.

Trustar Bank could open as early as June, Andersen said in an interview. Organizers plan to raise $35 million to $50 million in initial capital.

The $2.1 billion-asset WashingtonFirst sold to Sandy Spring Bancorp in Olney, Md., last year. After several other community banks in the area were sold, Andersen decided the time was right to start a new bank.

“I started to realize there really is a community that needs us and there is a void,” Andersen said. “We know how to do it and we have the experience. It just felt like it was the right time to get back into it while the market is in need of community banks.”

Andersen recruited several former WashingtonFirst executives to join the effort, including Matthew Johnson, the bank’s former chief financial officer; Michael Amin, former senior vice president of operations; and Karen Laughlin, WashingtonFirst’s head of human resources. The executives would have similar roles at Trustar.

The group of 12 organizers has been working on Trustar for about a month, Andersen said.

“We have been able to move fast,” she said. “It was a great team. Once I decided I wanted to do this again and started making calls, everyone missed our group and wanted to get back together. It formed fairly quickly.”

Trustar plans to serve small and midsize businesses with $1 million to $50 million in revenue. The business plan will be similar to WashingtonFirst’s approach, Andersen said. Trustar will build branches over time, though they may be smaller than traditional locations, she added.


Before she orchestrated a WashingtonFirst reunion, Andersen said she met with state and federal regulators to discuss Trustar’s plans. Trustar then submitted a pre-filing application; it is waiting for comments from regulators.

Reception from local investors has been good so far, Andersen said. The bank has already received verbal commitments “for quite a bit of money,” she said.

“I’m really excited and am hoping everything happens fairly quickly,” Andersen said.

Three other groups are working on de novo banks around Washington, including VisionBank, Marathon International Bank and Moxy Bank. Moxy received FDIC approval earlier this month.

“The difference between us and them is that we have done it before,” Andersen said.

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