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Q&A with the architects of Old Line, Bay Bank merger

Jim Cornelsen, left, and Joe Thomas. (Submitted photo)

Old Line Bank President and CEO Jim Cornelsen, left, and Bay Bank President and CEO Joe Thomas. (Submitted photo)

The merger of Old Line Bank and Bay Bank is expected to be final in the second quarter of 2018 and will result in assets approaching $3 billion and close to 40 branch locations under the name Old Line Bank.

Old Line Bank President and CEO Jim Cornelsen and Bay Bank President and CEO Joe Thomas recently addressed questions on the planned merger:

How did you two come to know each other?

Thomas: Jim and I have known each other for several years as bank CEOs in contiguous markets. We both serve our industry – Jim in American Bankers Association (where he has served in many different roles, including representing the state of Maryland on the Community Bankers Council), and me on the board of the Independent Community Bankers of America. I have been on the Federal Delegate Board for three years. We’ve shared a passion to give back to our industry.

As we’ve thought about opportunities and challenges facing our industry we’ve had a dialogue … Over the last six months we’ve crystalized that friendship into a business partnership where it’s become clear the strengths of the organizations will come together to create a really fine partnership for the customers. I’m personally very excited to be joining the Old Line board as a Board of Directors member. We have a lot of confidence in Jim, he’s a suburb operator who will continue to deliver profit for Old Line shareholders for many years to come.

How are Bay Bank and Old Line Bank similar and how will you move forward together?

Cornelsen: We really think similarly through how we conduct business, how we lend, seizing opportunities — all of that. Bay has a long history of serving business owners and entrepreneurs in the community, and we do too.

Bay’s commercial clients will now have an opportunity to have a legal lending limit of $40 million instead of $10 million. When Joe and I sat down it just became clearer and clearer that it became a really smart decision to put our best effort forward and really combine.

How does joining banks from two contiguous markets strengthen your position in the Baltimore-Washington corridor?

Cornelsen: We have the best footprint in the core of Maryland, the Baltimore-Washington corridor … It allows us to continue to grow and expand geographically from there. We fully anticipate to continue to expand, as we’ve done in some of our other markets. We recently opened a branch in Riverdale. In these days you don’t see too many banks opening offices, but we are. You’ve taken two strong companies and made a stronger company that’s able to provide superior banking services to Maryland clientele in the whole corridor.

Will the new bank have a broader product array?

Thomas: Clients will now have greater accessibility to their banking partner from the 40 branches we’ll have across the Baltimore-Washington corridor. … We will continue to invest in technology, state-of-the-art cash management, deposit services, lock box capability, etc. The treasury capabilities of the combined firms will be second to none.

On the consumer side, Old Line offers conventional residential products for homeowners and wealth management services for savers and investors looking for advice and investment management services from their bank.

For commercial, Old Line has great expertise in commercial real estate and the hospitality industry. Bay Bank has deeper expertise in the commercial lending segments, government contracting, health care, trucking transportation, logistics and not-for-profits, so the combined bank will have a broader array of industry specialization to better serve businesses. We service customers in all industries, but there are a lot of complementarities between the two banks that make us stronger together.