- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2005

James Monroe Bank’s aggressive pursuit of business customers paid off in the second quarter, as the community bank reported that net income increased more than 41 percent from the comparable period last year.

The bank’s stock price has remained fairly flat this year, although the Arlington bank already has loaned as much money in 2005 as it did in all of 2004.

Unlike many community banks that focus on mortgage and consumer loans, James Monroe Bank “specializes in working with small businesses and professionals,” said John Maxwell, the bank’s chief executive officer.

The bank, which opened in June 1998, operates with six branches in Northern Virginia.

Regional banking executives at branches in Annandale, Arlington, Chantilly, Fairfax, Leesburg and Manassas are assigned to deliver personal service that customers might not get at bigger banks.

“All of our business is relationship oriented,” Mr. Max-well said. “Our customers work directly with an experienced banker who gets to know and understands their business.”

He acknowledged that competition makes it tough to do business in the Washington area.

“Banks are moving into the market,” Mr. Maxwell said. “Local banks are aggressively growing their market and there are many [new] banks opening. The metropolitan D.C. market is one of the most competitive banking markets in the country.”

PNC Bank and Commerce Bank and among the big banks that have entered the Washington market recently.

James Monroe Bank reported net income for its second quarter ended June 30 rose to $970,000 (21 cents per diluted share) compared with net income of $686,000 (15 cents) in the second quarter of 2004.

Assets as of June 30 totaled $534 million, a 49 percent increase over assets of $359 million at the same time last year.

Loans totaled $334 million in the first half of this year, up 63 percent over loans of $205 million in the same period a year ago.

Deposits increased 55 percent to $485 million.

Although expenses rose 51 percent “due to recent strategic hires and higher performance-linked compensation,” they are unlikely to interfere with James Monroe Bank’s long-term growth, according to Cary Morris, a stock analyst with Scott & Stringfellow, a Richmond financial firm, which has done investment banking business with James Monroe.

Scott & Stringfellow last week raised its earnings estimate for James Monroe Bank “as we grow increasingly confident that these loan and deposit growth trends could translate into meaningful earnings growth going forward,” Mr. Morris said.

Shares of James Monroe Bank, which trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol JMBI, gained 1 percent, or 20 cents, to close yesterday at $19.50.

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