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Primary Bank gets conditional state approval

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 26. 2015 7:11PM
Bill Stone, president and CEO of Primary Bank and Bill Greiner, chairman of the board at 101 Plaza in Bedford on Thursday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

The first new bank in New Hampshire in seven years announced Thursday it has received conditional approval from the state banking department and is awaiting word from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Primary Bank CEO Bill Stone said the bank also needs to raise another $22 million before its projected opening in Bedford in May.

Primary Bank, which includes former Gov. John Lynch as a board member, already has raised $3 million in capital costs from 133 investors to help pay for startup costs.

The state-chartered bank plans a series of informational meetings for other potential investors to begin in the coming weeks, Stone said.

The bank will offer savings accounts for individuals and businesses, while its loans department will be “geared more toward small business customers and small business lending,” Stone said Thursday.

The bank’s building, under construction at Wallace Road and Route 101, is expected to be finished in early April. Stone said bank officials anticipate adding branches over time.

A FDIC spokesman said he didn’t have an immediate update on the bank’s application.

State Banking Commissioner Glen Perlow said both the FDIC and his department did an extensive investigation of proposed board members, as well as the bank’s application.

“This is a true community, small business oriented commercial bank,” Perlow said.

Right now, he said, “they can’t do the functions of a bank, but they have a corporate existence, so they can raise the captial and hold it in trust.”

Bill Greiner, co-owner of Copper Door, T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s restaurants, is expected to join the bank’s board of directors as chairman.

The last state-chartered bank was Optima Bank & Trust in 2008, while the last federally chartered bank headquartered in New Hampshire pre-dated Optima.

Perlow said no new banks have opened since 2008 in New Hampshire for good reason.

“The financial crisis and a recession had pretty much most to do with it,” Perlow said.

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