L. SCOTT RUSH Senior vice president First United Corp., Oakland, Md.

L. Scott Rush has worked for only one bank in his career, but he has seen plenty of change--right in his own institution.

Example: First United Corp. of Oakland, Md., where Mr. Rush is senior vice president of planning and control, is now opening an insurance agency.

How does a bank get into the insurance business? Under a provision in federal law that allows banks in towns of fewer than 5,000 people to sell the stuff.

First United plans to begin selling annuities this month, Mr. Rush says, but adds that he sees the highest potential in ther insurance products, such as auto coverage.

Essentially a chief financial officer, Mr. Rush is responsible, among other things, for setting loan and deposit reates for the banking company, which has $350 million in assets.

Mr. Rush grew up on a farm in western Maryland, graduated with honors from an area college in the early 1970s, and went to work in the auditing department at First United National Bank and Trust Co. in 1975.

He considers himself fortunate to have found a good career so close to home. "Knowing the people - that's what makes a good community banker," Mr. Rush says.

The hometown formula has certainly worked for First United. The company earned better than 1.3% on assets in each of the last four years--well above the national average for banks its size. Its interest rate margin exceeded 5% all through the 1980s, and Mr. Rush attributes this sterling record to solid asset-liability management.

He should know about such things. In 1980, he left the top spot in the bank's auditing department to institute an asset-liability management program.

With increased competition whittling away bank margins, he expects fee income from all areas, not just insurance, to propel banks in the '90s. And if customers are put off initially, eventually they will adjust.

When First United added fees on checking accounts in the mid-1980s, it was one of the first in its area to do so. "It was heresy," says Mr. Rush. One-third of the accounts fled, "but we didn't lose a penny," he recalls.

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