QB&T in the News

June 12, 2006

Banking By the Bootstraps

by Liese Klein, Business New Haven

New community bank dreams big by thinking small

A bank where the manager knows you by name. A bank that can see beyond a credit blip and get you that loan to expand your business. That's the kind of bank Mark Candido wants to bring back to the New Haven area - and he hopes investors agree.

Candido and partner Richard Barredo are looking for a few more backers to buy shares in the Quinnipiac Bank & Trust Company, which opened an initial stock offering on April 10. The state granted the bank the temporary charter on January 2.

As of June 6, more than 40 percent of the shares had been sold, with Candido confident the entire $13 million in equity capital would be raised by the July 7 deadline. "Our checks are starting to build up some steam," Candido says. "The response has been very good so far."

The duo has narrowed the search for a main branch to two parcels in Hamden and expects to sign a lease in the next month.

Both veterans of the Bank of New Haven, Candido and Barredo say they have wanted to start a new bank for years.

"We are community bankers at heart," Candido says. "It's in our blood. We believe [large banks] in effect ignore the smaller to medium-sized commercial business and some of the consumers. They can't bend." Quinnipiac will target such smaller companies, and also offer a full suite of individual bank products like home loans and certificates of deposit.

The bank's main competitive advantage will be its board of directors, culled from local business leaders who can act as rainmakers and boosters in the community, Candido says. "It's not a secret: You use the board to bring in your business," he says. "It's like a built-in marketing department."

Recent mergers and consolidations have opened up a niche for a new community bank, explains Susan Monti, a managing director and banking analyst for Ostrowski & Co. in Cheshire. "Theirs is a business model we believe that can be a success," she says. "Those are markets that pretty much do not have a homegrown bank any longer.

"The other critical element is management," says Monti. "There you have two pretty strong people. It look like they have all the elements to make it a success."

But Monti cautions that would-be investors in the bank should realize that they are buying an illiquid security that may not trade publicly for years. "It's really a much longer-term investment," she notes.

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