Monday, May 20, 2013

Alliance Bank expands commercial lending into Lake Norman

Woody Washam
Alliance Bank and Trust is pushing its commercial lending into the Lake Norman area with the hire of a market president for the area.

Woody Washam joins the Gastonia-based bank after spending nearly a decade in a similar role at CommunityOne Bank.

His hire is one of new Alliance CEO Don Harrison's first moves since taking the job last month. The move also reunites Harrison and Washam. Harrison most recently worked as executive vice president at CommunityOne.

"I've been sort of rebuilding the team here, reaching out to some folks I've worked with before," Harrison told the Observer. "It’s just sort of a loan production strategy to reach out into the areas where we can find a veteran banker."

Don Harrison
The hire also marks one of Alliance's few forays outside Gaston and Cleveland counties. The bank does not have any branches or office space in the area, and Washam is spending much of his time driving around calling on clients.

“This is sort of a new take on mobile banking” Harrison joked.

Harrison said Alliance does not have any plans for a retail presence around Lake Norman at this point, but did not rule it out in the future. He said the move should also not be seen as an indication the bank would look to grow into other submarkets in the area.

"We don’t have any particular plans to expand in other areas at this point," Harrison said. "This was sort of an obvious fit. We had a need, and he was available."

But he said Alliance is attracted by "high growth" in the area as the bank works to rebuild its portfolio. Last year, actions from both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. required the bank to make plans to clean up problem loans and boost capital.