Rob OdleNorth Arundel Savings Bank President and CEO Micky Thomas is thrilled to celebrate the bank’s 60th year in business. “I take pride in North Arundel Savings Bank’s contribution to the Pasadena community,” she said.
North Arundel Savings Bank Celebrates 60 Years
Back in 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower had just run a successful re-election campaign for president. Earlier in the year, Elvis Presley released “Heartbreak Hotel,” the hit single that would later be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. "My Fair Lady" had just opened on Broadway, and the country saw the dawn of the Interstate Highway System.
Against the backdrop of these historic events, several Pasadena businessmen came together to establish what would soon become a piece of local history: North Arundel Savings Bank.
Founded on December 14, 1956, as North Anne Arundel Savings and Loan Association Incorporated, the bank was the brainchild of Hugh K. Holmes, an attorney who practiced on Mountain Road. He thought that the growing Pasadena area could use a bank that catered to the needs of the local population.
Holmes gathered local businessmen George Missel, William B. Chairs and Marvin Durner to name a few, and the group agreed that the area was in need. The men put up $50,000 in deposits, were granted a state charter, and opened up the North Anne Arundel Savings and Loan Association.
Missel was installed as the bank’s first president, while the other men served on the board of directors.
Originally, the bank offered passbook savings accounts and mortgage loans, but it quickly evolved to meet demand. Now the bank offers certificates of deposit; retirement, checking and money market accounts; and specializes in construction lending.
The bank began as a state-chartered establishment but became federally chartered in the late 1970s. According to Micky Thomas, North Arundel’s current president and CEO, the switch to a federal charter ensured the bank’s recognition as a federally insured institution.
The bank’s name went through a few changes over the years to reflect the trends in community banking. Now, the bank is known simply as North Arundel Savings Bank.
New names are not the only major changes that North Arundel has experienced in its 60-year history. In October 1964, the bank moved from its original location — a post office substation in Lake Shore — to its current location on Mountain Road.
At the time, Missel said that the new building enabled North Arundel to offer expanded services, and it provided enough space for future growth of the company. He believed that this location was ideal to keep up with what he called in a 1964 News American article “one of the fastest growing areas in the nation.”
Although the bank has had two major additions over the years, the same recognizable building stands proudly on Mountain Road today. Many passersby will recognize the perfectly slanted roof atop the barn-red building adorned with “North Arundel Savings Bank” in bold white letters. Thomas appropriately dubbed the design as “retro.”
Thomas joined the bank in October 1976 and has been there ever since.
“When I started with the bank, we had about $5 million in assets and now we have about $44 million in assets,” Thomas said. On a larger scale, she elaborated, that is not a huge amount of growth, but it paints a good picture of how stable and conservative the bank has been over 60 years. “That’s slow and steady growth,” Thomas said.
Thomas took over as President in 2007, and she has seen her fair share of innovations and changes to the bank in her 40-year history.
In January 2016, the bank converted back to a state charter, eliminating the federal charter acquired in the ‘70s. “We’re going back to our roots,” Thomas said. The choice to convert to a state charter was due in part to the desire for a local regulator who understands our community. “We wanted to get closer to home with a state examiner because they’d be more sensitive to our local market,” Thomas elaborated.
But now, Thomas admitted, “The biggest changes come from outside forces. They affect how we’ve grown.”
The secret to North Arundel’s 60 years of success, Thomas suggested, is the bank’s commitment to “continuity of service and genuinely caring about our community.” Just like the principles that the bank was founded on, Thomas said that, “It’s not about growth at all cost; it’s about serving the community and doing that at the highest ethical standards. We are accessible to our customers, we have the local advantage. With in-house underwriting, we can be more sensitive to borrowers’ needs.” Loan decisions are made locally and promote ownership and support economic development in Pasadena.
It’s those commitments, Thomas said, that have allowed North Arundel to survive and prosper for so long.
“I am very proud of the bank’s resiliency through all the cycles,” Thomas explained. “We’ve weathered the savings and loan crisis, the real estate downturn of the early ‘90s and then again in 2008 because of our conservative underwriting and our ability to be in tune with the local economy.”
Thomas said that she expects many more years of success as the bank continues to offer excellent products and customer service.
Whether the next 60 years bring new technologies, increased regulation or, hopefully not, another economic crisis, Thomas is sure that North Arundel will prevail. “By keeping our product line simple and hiring excellent employees, we can overcome those challenges,” she said.
In quoting one of the bank’s past presidents, Thomas said, “It was never the intent of the bank to become a nationwide competitor,” something that rings true to this day. “We have our niche here,” Thomas said. “We really have roots in this community.”