When Revere Bank decided to open its first Anne Arundel County branch this winter, it turned to a 35-year industry veteran to lead the way.
David R. Chisholm, 55, has spent his entire banking career in the Anne Arundel area, watching banks rise and fall amid the economic cycles, including the recent recession.
“I enjoy helping people with their financial needs. You meet a lot of people in this job, and I enjoy that a lot,” Chisholm said.
He joined Revere, a 4-year-old community bank in Laurel, as senior vice president and business development officer of the bank’s Anne Arundel branch in Millersville. It’s the bank’s third branch; it has another in Rockville.
The new office offered an ideal opportunity for the bank, which reported $307.8 million in assets in the first quarter, said Kenneth C. Cook, its president and vice chairman. Chisholm, with his regional experience, was a good match.
“He is widely known as someone who can get things done,” Cook said. “He’s got a lot of energy and enthusiasm and brings a vast knowledge of the Anne Arundel market to the table.”
Chisholm said the new branch has beat its budget and he hopes to use his previous contacts, especially in the real estate market, to boost its loans and deposits.
“Banking is a relationship business,” he said. “My job is to spread the word.”
Revere has grown loans by $94.8 million and grown deposits by $105.5 million since the first quarter of 2011, according to company information.
Chisholm made his first foray into the banking world when he was 19, when a relative member helped him land a job at Annapolis Federal Savings Bank. He had been attending a computer school in Baltimore but decided banking sounded like a fun career, Chisholm said. Previously, he had worked as an account manager for a sand and gravel business while attending night classes.
Chisholm started at Annapolis Federal as a teller in 1975, and soon got into lending and was promoted to assistant manager. Seven years later, Annapolis Federal’s president asked him to become a department manager.
He said the position taught him a “common sense” approach to underwriting in which the lender takes into account everything about a borrower. In some cases, a substantial net worth might offset a high lending ratio, Chisholm said.
Annapolis Federal later sold to Crestar Bank, where Chisholm stayed on to take charge of residential lending and then complete lending.
Although residential lending needs to conform to secondary market standards such as Freddie Mac’s, commercial lending focuses more on finding a source of repayment and determining a borrower’s ability to repay, he said. He likes working with both types.
Chisholm eventually moved on to the Bank of Annapolis, as its commercial and residential loan officer and senior vice president. Chisholm helped grow his division enough to warrant a second officer in the first year, but the bank sold to Sandy Spring Bank of Olney.
He joined Severn Savings Bank, where he remained for 17 years.
“It’s an awesome little community bank where they emphasize on catering to the local community,” Chisholm said.
Andrea Dale, a loan processor at Severn who worked with Chisholm for two years, called him personable and always willing to mentor others.
“If I was nervous, he would help calm me down. Anytime I had questions, he was right there to help out,” Dale said. “He had a lot of contacts and knew a lot of people.”
When Revere initially contacted Chisholm, he wavered for five months, he said.
Ultimately, he decided Revere offered the same local community feel as Severn and also presented the challenge of being a young and growing bank, Chisholm said.
He said he has seen borrowers change during his 35 years in the industry, becoming more savvy about researching financing, especially in the current market. People understand underwriting more, but guidelines have stiffened, Chisholm said. Before the recession, a borrower could get a loan without income or asset verification; now, everything is verified.
“Loan programs then had easier qualifications,” he said. “People had a general idea of affordability, but loan programs made it easy to get loans that caused problems later.”
Having been through four economic cycles, Chisholm said the latest was the most “devastating.”
Conditions are improving, he said, as more of the delinquent properties are being sold off and confidence rises in the economy, stabilizing property values.
Still, finding stability and the promise of continued repayment among borrowers remains the biggest challenge, Chisholm said.