Tommy Bourque is back in the game.
The longtime banker – who left his post as CEO at Powhatan-based New Horizon Bank in April after less than two years on the job – has resurfaced as chief lending officer at Community Bankers Bank, a niche institution in Midlothian.
Bourque was hired by CEO Billy Beale, the veteran local executive who came out of retirement to help right the ship at CBB, one of only about a dozen so-called bankers banks remaining in the country.
Beale said he connected with Bourque on LinkedIn when he put up a post seeking a seasoned commercial lender after a member of CBB’s credit team departed.
“He has a very interesting background,” Beale said of Bourque. “He brings a community bank perspective to this position and he also brings a perspective that I think can relate well to our customers because he’s been in their shoes before. He’s been out having to knock on doors and building relationships.”
Bourque arrived in Powhatan in 2017 by way of Waynesville, North Carolina, where he had been head of lending at the former Oldtown Bank, prior to its acquisition by larger competitor Entegra Bank.
The Louisiana native and graduate of University of Louisiana Lafayette has a banking resume spanning three decades, with earlier stints at the former Bank One, which was absorbed by J.P. Morgan Chase, and Compass Bank in Birmingham, Alabama.
He started with CBB on July 1. He said he traveled a bit after his departure from New Horizon before landing his new gig.
“I wasn’t sure where I was going,” Bourque said. “I took some time off trying to find something that fits well.”
Bourque said he didn’t want to comment on why he left New Horizon after such a short tenure.
“It’s a good organization,” he said of New Horizon. “The bank will do well, but I’m happy to be where I am.”
The loan arranger
At CBB, Bourque said he’ll be essentially going door-to-door calling on banks in the Federal Reserve’s Fifth District, which consists of Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
“My charge is to create some loans out of this area and grow this bank,” Bourque said. “It’s been a while since it had a growth spurt. My background is credit and loan production, so I’m stepping into something I’ve done for 20 years.”
Bankers banks have a narrow business model of serving smaller community banks as both their customers and shareholders. They can’t source loans directly, but act as a middleman in so-called participation loans – helping smaller banks sell off pieces of loans that are too large for them to fully fund on their own or loans that give a bank too much of a concentration in one area of lending.
CBB has struggled to sustain steady profitability in recent years. Beale said Bourque will help with his turnaround plan by going out and hunting for those sorts of loan deals, while others at CBB continue to help it remain on a profitable footing.
Beale said since his arrival in fall 2018, the bank has added new product lines to sell to its customers, such as mobile payment, regulatory compliance and wealth management services.
“We’ve had a profitable first quarter and will have a profitable second quarter,” Beale said. “My hope is that sometime in the fourth quarter we’ll pay the first dividend in a decade. I think we have some forward momentum.”
CBB was founded in the mid-1980s as Virginia Bankers Bank, serving smaller banks in a time of expansion of interstate banking. It changed its name in the ’90s when it expanded its territory to include the Federal Reserve’s fifth district.