In Greenwich, Conn., a wealthy New York suburb crowded with high-powered private banks and investment boutiques, Patriot National Bank is looking to distinguish itself through its hometown roots.
Patriot, based in nearby Stamford, signed a lease this month to open a branch in Greenwich.
The move puts three-year-old Patriot, a bank with $60 million of assets and $52 million of deposits, in direct competition with out-of-state giants like Chase Manhattan Corp., Citicorp, First Union Corp., and Fleet Financial Group.
But Patriot's executives say they are undaunted. The bank expects to bring in $250 million of deposits in its first 36 months in Greenwich, according to its chairman, Fred A. DeCaro Jr.
In fact, he said, the first 90 days of business should bring $10 million of deposits in 500 new accounts.
"There is over $2 billion on deposit in Greenwich in banks," he said. Ultimately, "what we're shooting for is 12.5% of the market.
"We believe because we're so local and we know everybody that that is attainable."
Fifty of Patriot's 80 advisory board members live in Greenwich, including Greenwich's town clerk, its director of housing, and its chairman of planning and zoning. They are joined by local lawyers, doctors, and small-business owners.
Many of Patriot's executives, including Mr. DeCaro, went to high school in Greenwich, and they are talking up the bank to everyone they know. The bank has also budgeted $50,000 to advertise its low credit card rates and high interest on certificates of deposits next month.
A second branch-a two-teller, 150-square foot kiosk-is slated to open later at the front of a shopping center in Cos Cob, a section of the town.
Mr. DeCaro said he felt ready to enter Greenwich after its only local bank, Putnam Trust Co., was sold in 1995 to Bank of New York Co.
"The reason we started in Stamford is because we knew that the Greenwich market was controlled by a bank called Putnam Trust for many years," he said. Some Connecticut Yankees deride Bank of New York and other out-of- town banks as out of touch.
In addition to seeking retail customers, Patriot will target businesses with revenues of less than $15 million.
"The reality is that community banks compete on basis of personalized service and flexible procedures and creative underwriting," said John S. Carusone, president of Bank Analysis Center, an investment bank in Hartford.
"The out-of-state, carpetbagger banks by necessity have to standardize policies and procedures. The decision-making is back at the corporate headquarters," he added.
One of the four bank applications Mr. Carusone helped to prepare in the past year was for Bank of Greenwich. That bank's organizers include Michael M. Cassell, the former president of Putnam Trust; local investment manager William R. Berkley; and attorney William L. Mahone.
Bank of Greenwich, which has its temporary certificate from the state pending federal approvals, will shoot for a diverse clientele of individuals, businesses, and charities, according to Mr. Cassell.
Other newcomers to the Greenwich banking market, such as U.S. Trust Corp. and State Street Corp., focus on upscale clients.
"Those larger banks are focusing on the very high end of the market," Mr. Cassell said. "Through our trust department we are going to be doing business with those people, but we feel there are people whose needs are not as large, but certainly no less important."