NewDominion Bank in Charlotte, N.C., knows from turnarounds, and it's hoping to channel its hard lessons learned into a business opportunity.

The $297 million-asset bank took a major beating in the financial crisis. "The bank had a unique strategy of borrowing money on the Internet and lending it out in the local real estate community," President and Chief Operating Officer Marc Bogan says. When the housing market collapsed, "NewDominion hit a brick wall."

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. slapped the struggling bank with a consent order in October 2010, mandating new management along with a host of other requirements. The board hired longtime community banker John Hipp as chief executive, and he brought on a new executive management team in 2011. NewDominion then set about stabilizing its balance sheet, completing a $10.5 million capital raise this June.

Now the bank is trying to extend its turnaround know-how to the local business community. It promised prospective borrowers that it will take three days or less to make decisions on business loans between $500,000 and $2 million. If NewDominion approves a loan after missing the deadline, it will put $3,000 toward closing costs.

"Every small business has a horror story about waiting for months to hear back about refinancing or getting capital," Bogan says. "We want to make quick decisions."

The bank has no intention of sacrificing thorough evaluation for speed, Bogan claims. "Risk management is critically important, obviously," he says. "We want to make sound loans to customers who will pay us back."

The initiative comes with a caveat. It does not apply to Small Business Administration loans, since the SBA's approval process is separate from that of the bank's.

As NewDominion continues to rebuild, it hopes the loan program will attract fresh borrowers and entice current customers to take out more loans. "There's no dominant community bank in Charlotte," Bogan says. "We feel there's an opportunity here to build."

The bank still has work to do on the road to recovery. Its Tier 1 leverage ratio was 6% at the end of June—2 percentage points below the 8% required by the FDIC order, which still stands. It posted a loss of $641,753 in the second quarter after turning a profit of $48,246 the previous period.

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