New local competitor lures banking vet to Patterson Ave.

The Park Sterling Bank branch at 5601 Patterson Ave. closed in March. (Michael Schwartz)

An out-of-town bank has found its man to lead its charge into the Richmond market.

Strasburg-based First Bank, which is opening its first local outpost at 5601 Patterson Ave. in the West End, announced last week it hired longtime local banker Andy McLean to serve as its Richmond market head.

The $735 million bank and CEO Scott Harvard lured McLean over from Reston-based Access National, which recently acquired Middleburg Bank, where McLean had worked for seven years overseeing its Richmond operations.

Harvard said his bank looks for talent first and locations second when expanding into a new area and had McLean in mind for a move into Richmond.

“I’ve been in the banking business about as long as Andy has,” said Harvard, a native Richmonder who worked in the same Patterson Avenue building when it was a Virginia Federal Savings and Loan location.

“We’ve known each other for a long time. Fortunately I think the moon and the stars came together and the timing was right for us coming to Richmond and him being willing to help us build this market.”

Andy McLean

Andy McLean

McLean left Access National a few weeks ago and his first day at First Bank was Aug. 21.

“I left with several options, but Scott and I had been working on this for a while,” McLean said. “His knowledge of Richmond is very important to me.”

McLean brings with him a group of four retail bankers who worked with him at Middleburg’s nearby Libbie Avenue branch, which was shuttered shortly after the Access National deal.

He said that will help First Bank hit the ground running in a competitive banking neighborhood.

“The Westhampton market is an extremely vibrant, affluent market. Granted, there a lot of banks there, but if you have the right people and take care of your clients you will win the business,” he said.

First Bank primarily will go after small business and consumer customers in Richmond, and McLean said the next step is to hire employees on the commercial side.

Harvard and McLean said the plan is to have the new 3,100-square-foot Patterson branch open by early October, following a few renovations to convert it from its previous incarnation as a Park Sterling Bank branch.

It would be the bank’s 15th branch statewide, joining spots in Winchester, Strasburg, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. First Bank and its parent company First National Corp. began expanding east in the state two years ago with the acquisition of several Bank of America branches that put it in markets like Farmville.

McLean said he’d like to see the new branch hit around $18 million in deposits and $15 million in loans in its first year.

He said there is one main obstacle in growing an out-of-town bank brand in Richmond that he learned from his time at Middleburg.

“The biggest challenge: people are very averse to change,” he said. “Getting people to change their financial institution; it’s very tough to make a move.

“But I’ve always said if I can get people to walk through our door … just take a bite of the apple and they’ll stay.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported amount of loans that First Bank would tentatively target for its first year at its new Richmond branch. The story has been updated. 

The Park Sterling Bank branch at 5601 Patterson Ave. closed in March. (Michael Schwartz)

An out-of-town bank has found its man to lead its charge into the Richmond market.

Strasburg-based First Bank, which is opening its first local outpost at 5601 Patterson Ave. in the West End, announced last week it hired longtime local banker Andy McLean to serve as its Richmond market head.

The $735 million bank and CEO Scott Harvard lured McLean over from Reston-based Access National, which recently acquired Middleburg Bank, where McLean had worked for seven years overseeing its Richmond operations.

Harvard said his bank looks for talent first and locations second when expanding into a new area and had McLean in mind for a move into Richmond.

“I’ve been in the banking business about as long as Andy has,” said Harvard, a native Richmonder who worked in the same Patterson Avenue building when it was a Virginia Federal Savings and Loan location.

“We’ve known each other for a long time. Fortunately I think the moon and the stars came together and the timing was right for us coming to Richmond and him being willing to help us build this market.”

Andy McLean

Andy McLean

McLean left Access National a few weeks ago and his first day at First Bank was Aug. 21.

“I left with several options, but Scott and I had been working on this for a while,” McLean said. “His knowledge of Richmond is very important to me.”

McLean brings with him a group of four retail bankers who worked with him at Middleburg’s nearby Libbie Avenue branch, which was shuttered shortly after the Access National deal.

He said that will help First Bank hit the ground running in a competitive banking neighborhood.

“The Westhampton market is an extremely vibrant, affluent market. Granted, there a lot of banks there, but if you have the right people and take care of your clients you will win the business,” he said.

First Bank primarily will go after small business and consumer customers in Richmond, and McLean said the next step is to hire employees on the commercial side.

Harvard and McLean said the plan is to have the new 3,100-square-foot Patterson branch open by early October, following a few renovations to convert it from its previous incarnation as a Park Sterling Bank branch.

It would be the bank’s 15th branch statewide, joining spots in Winchester, Strasburg, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. First Bank and its parent company First National Corp. began expanding east in the state two years ago with the acquisition of several Bank of America branches that put it in markets like Farmville.

McLean said he’d like to see the new branch hit around $18 million in deposits and $15 million in loans in its first year.

He said there is one main obstacle in growing an out-of-town bank brand in Richmond that he learned from his time at Middleburg.

“The biggest challenge: people are very averse to change,” he said. “Getting people to change their financial institution; it’s very tough to make a move.

“But I’ve always said if I can get people to walk through our door … just take a bite of the apple and they’ll stay.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported amount of loans that First Bank would tentatively target for its first year at its new Richmond branch. The story has been updated. 

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