The newest owner of the branch bank in the Fulton Township crossroads of Penn Hill plans to be there for the long run.
"We intend to keep that branch open," said Mary Ann Scully, president of Howard Bank. "We very definitely are planing to maintain it. … We are now working on plans to make this a successful market for us. We believe this can be a growth area for us."
Howard Bank took over that branch, as well as others in neighboring Cecil County, Md., when NBRS Financial failed in October.
The Penn Hill branch was one of five NBRS offices closed at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 17, by the Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was named as the bank's receiver.
Following several years of losses related to nonperforming assets, NBRS was unable to find additional capital to restore the bank to a sound condition, or a buyer for the bank," said Maryland's Acting Commissioner of Financial Regulation Gordon M. Cooley.
Chartered as a national bank in 1880, NBRS converted to a Maryland charter in 2002.
The branch was built by Farmers Bank in Quarryville. It was taken over by Farmers First when the local bank merged with the larger institution.
Farmers First kept the branch open until 10 years ago. The interior was renovated after armed robbers hit it twice.
Farmers First closed the branch after it failed to meet the bank's expectations. National Bank of Rising Sun, later NBRS Financial, took the branch over and operated it until October 17.
Howard Bank sees the Penn Hill branch as its first branch in Pennsylvania, the president said. "We are growing to the north," Scully said of Howard Bank's expansion. The bank, founded in Ellicott City, Md., 10 years ago, expanded into Harford County, Md., earlier this year.
Founded in August, 2004, Howard Bank has a management team with experience in larger banks. Some members of that team came from banks in Pennsylvania, Scully said. The bank now has $700 million in assets.
"There's nothing in our history that would show that we intend to close this branch," Scully said.
"If we're able to grow our relationship with the community and see a growth in the operation, that branch will stay open."