Neubauer foresees smooth transition as he takes over reins of Taneytown Bank

January 13, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Taneytown Bank and Trust customers should see few changes as Frank W. Neubauer takes over as president and chief executive officer of the northern Carroll-based bank.

Mr. Neubauer replaces executive Carroll D. Myers, who retired at the end of 1993 after 20 years with Taneytown Bank, 15 as president and CEO.

"The [transition] should be a pretty transparent process," said Mr. Neubauer. "Carroll Myers and I have worked together for two years, and I don't see myself making any dramatic, abrupt changes."

A former executive vice president for Taneytown Bank, Mr. Neubauer was specifically chosen to succeed Mr. Myers when he joined the company in March 1992. Under the bank's formal succession plan, board members began looking for a new president as Mr. Myers neared retirement age a few years ago, Mr. Neubauer said.

At that time, Mr. Neubauer, 51, was at First American Bank in Columbia as senior vice president in charge of corporate banking in Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. One of his customers there was a major stockholder of Taneytown Bank who approached him about the job in Carroll.

"I'm thrilled at the opportunity and the confidence they [board members] have in me," Mr. Neubauer said.

Mr. Neubauer said he plans to continue expanding loans to homebuyers through several federal programs and also to keep expanding services to small businesses.

Currently, small business adviser Mike Fish is visiting Taneytown twice a month to help entrepreneurs create new ventures, strengthen existing ones and write business plans. His services are being sponsored by Taneytown Bank and the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Neubauer said.

Mr. Fish also advises small business clients once a week at the county economic development office in Westminster.

"We really championed that cause," Mr. Neubauer said. "It's now in vogue, but we kind of led the charge. We have a tremendous responsibility to small businesses."

Mr. Neubauer's appreciation of small community banks, such as Taneytown Bank, came after working as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after he graduated from Old Dominion University in 1966.

He left that job after four years to work for Columbia Bank and Trust, which merged with Equitable Trust in 1982.

Mr. Neubauer worked at First American Bank in Columbia for 11 years prior to coming to Taneytown Bank.

"I like the personal nature in terms of dealing with customers," he said. "You live in the community you work in and get to know the people better."

That constant close contact helps the bank's management make informed lending decisions and gives them flexibility in drafting agreements, Mr. Neubauer said. Larger banks must rely solely on credit histories, he said.

"Some of these customers have been with the bank for generation after generation," he said. "You don't have to go through the credibility issue and search for a reason [to lend this person money]."

Smaller banks also have more continuity in personnel, Mr. Neubauer said.

"We have some employees that have been here for over 30 years," he said. "Customers really appreciate that. They don't have to continually prove their credibility to a new person."

Mr. Neubauer reluctantly admits that banking was not his first love in college. Although he was interested in business through high school, the Catonsville native intended to be a physical education major when he entered Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

However, his former employer -- a nightclub owner who wanted Mr. Neubauer to open and run some clubs for him -- encouraged the college student to pursue a finance degree. Mr. Neubauer was smitten.

"I realized that [running nightclubs] isn't very family-oriented, being out until 3 o'clock in the morning," he said.

His wife of 25 years, Bobbie, has owned two businesses in the Light Street Pavilion at Baltimore's Harborplace for about eight years. Star Times carries cartoon-character decorated merchandise and The Big Time, which started as a watch shop, sells items of interest to tourists, Mr. Neubauer said.

"She really likes it," he said. "She really enjoys meeting with the public."

Mrs. Neubauer is also an avid golfer, an avocation that she shares with her husband. "Our time together is basically oriented to golf," he said.

Their eldest daughter, Jill, will graduate from the physician's assistant program at Essex Community College in May, he said. The 23-year-old graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute two years ago with a degree in biology.

Mr. Neubauer said his other daughter, Cori, is pursuing a nursing degree from Towson State University. She will be 21 next month.

"I will be well-provided as far as medical care goes," Mr. Neubauer said with a laugh.

Mr. Neubauer said he and his family have recently moved from Columbia to the "Taneytown side of Westminster."

"It's a great environment," he said of Carroll County. "It's a different pace and a little less hectic."

Employees in the county have a work ethic different from any other place he's worked, Mr. Neubauer said. They are willing to work across departmental lines, something that can cause turf battles in larger banks, he said.

"People are very flexible," he said. "They will do what you ask them. In a small bank, people wear a lot of different hats. It's more of a team effort."

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