Sandy Spring Gets New CEO

By Alejandro Lazo

Sandy Spring National Bancorp has promoted its president and chief revenue officer to chief executive, carrying through with a succession plan intended to keep the Olney-based company independent.

Daniel J. Schrider, 44, who started his career with Sandy Spring Bank in 1989 as a commercial lender, was named president and chief executive of the bank as well as its holding company. Schrider succeeds Hunter R. Hollar, 60, who was chief executive and president of the bank and the company for 15 years. Hollar will remain on as the company's non-executive chairman of the board.

The succession, which the bank said was effective Jan. 1, follows a string of recent local banking mergers that, if completed, will make Sandy Spring Bank both the largest and oldest bank with its headquarters in Maryland. The bank has 42 branches in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

"Our board desired to continue the tradition of an independent bank," Schrider said in an interview yesterday. "With some of the local banking consolidations this opens up a great opportunity for us ..... we offer a great alternative for small businesses and middle-market clients that desire to work with a local company."

Like many community banking companies, Sandy Spring National Bancorp faces increasing losses on loans made to developers who are unable to pay them back because of the downturn in the housing market. Most of the loans were made in the Washington area and in Delaware. For the first nine months of the year, the company boosted its provision for loan and lease losses to $15.4 million from $2.4 million in the same period of 2007.

Schrider said yesterday that the bank had stopped making loans to builders but continues to make retail, mortgage and consumer loans.

Schrider's succession follows news last week that Abigail Adams National Bancorp, the parent company of Adams National Bank of the District, would merge with a West Virginia bank in a deal designed to ensure Adams National could weather the financial crisis.

Adams National is the third local bank to agree to be sold in two months, following Capital One's deal to buy Chevy Chase and M&T Bank's to buy Baltimore-based Provident Bank. Charlotte-based Wachovia, which has a strong local presence, is also in the process of being sold to Wells Fargo.

Bert Ely, a local banking analyst, said the naming of a longtime insider to the helm of Sandy Spring indicates that the company is not looking to be bought or merge -- at least for now.

"They are going to be an attractive acquisition someday," Ely said. "When I look at banks of that size, they become attractive targets because it is a way for larger banking companies, in one move, to get a boost to their material market share in an attractive market."

By Terri Rupar  |  January 5, 2009; 4:59 PM ET  | Category:  Finance
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