VisionBank team scraps plan for new Washington bank

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Organizers of a proposed bank in the nation's capital have thrown in the towel.

VisionBank, which in October applied with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for deposit insurance, has withdrawn its application.

Melinda ("Mindi") McClure, who was to be VisionBank's chairman and CEO, said a wave of de novo efforts around Washington, coupled with aggressive growth plans by a number of established banks, made it difficult for her group to raise capital. Trustar Bank, led by Shaza Andersen, recently opened in northern Virginia, while Moxy Bank and Founders Bank are still in formation.

Organizers of Marathon International Bank also withdrew their application.

McClure said activity and continued consolidation also presented challenges. VisionBank's organizers had planned to raise at least $25 million in initial capital.

"While we still believe there's such a huge need for community banking services in the greater Washington D.C. market, we'd be better served to do that from a larger platform," McClure said.

As a result, McClure has joined the $325 million-asset Old Dominion National Bank in Tysons Corner, Va., as its chief strategy officer. Richard Horn, who was to be VisionBank’s chief operating officer and general counsel, is now Old Dominion's general counsel.

Old Dominion expects to bring "multiple" VisionBank founders onto its board. Chairman and CEO Mark Merrill said that talks with those employees are ongoing and that Old Dominion plans to add five to 10 more workers by the end of the year from VisionBank and other financial institutions.

Consolidation in the market has created a glut of available talent, Merrill said. Most recently, WesBanco in Wheeling, W.Va., announced plans to enter Washington after agreeing to buy the $3.1 billion-asset Old Line Bancshares in Bowie, Md.

McClure said the VisionBank group can still accomplish what it set out to do, with a larger capital base and more resources. The VisionBank executives have high-growth DNA but also a focus on credit quality, which will mesh well with Old Dominion's culture, she said.

Merrill said Old Dominion plans to reach $500 million in assets by the end of 2020, with the goal of ultimately being a multibillion-dollar company. For now, the bank has found a niche, given a dearth of smaller community banks in the market focusing on commercial loans between $3 million and $10 million, he said.

Old Dominion, which opened its Tysons Corner branch and headquarters in 2017, has had its leadership team based there for nearly three years. Merrill said the bank plans to open roughly one branch a year for the next few years.

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