The Victory Bank in the News 2007

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Sunday, January 14, 2007


  •  Stock Offering Well Underway
  • Welcome Additions to our Team
  • The Victory Bank; the Right Time for an Alternative!
  • Smaller Banks Successfully Marry the Old with the New
  • An investment in The Victory Bank Means a Double Return!

Monday, March 26, 2007 

The proposed Limerick, Pa.-based Victory Bank aims to create a de novo that is the "employer of choice," as part of its strategy to compete with surrounding institutions, CEO Joseph Major told SNL Financial.

The organizers of the state-chartered bank filed an application with the FDIC on Feb. 9. The de novo, according to Major, will deliver all the same things startups typically promise to offer — a strictly local community bank, a local board of directors, and real relationships with its customers. However, Victory Bank intends to offer a little bit extra. 

"There are a lot of local banks, and what really differentiates high-performing companies is a commitment to the quality of your organization and your people," Major said. As such, one of the underlying premises of the de novo will be to make the company attractive to employees. "At the end of the day, when this project is all said and done, we want people to be knocking on our doors saying, 'We want to work for you,'" Major said. 

According to the filing, the bank will offer a full range of business banking and related financial services focused primarily on small to medium-size businesses and the professional community, and will also serve individual customers in the bank's primary service areas. 

Major further explained that the bank is not trying to build a consumer bank. While it will offer consumer products, this will not be the "heart and soul" of the project. The company's goal is to service the commercial market.

As part of this strategy, the bank will not focus on branching, but establish a few key branches and then supplement its distribution system in a variety of means. For example, Major said the bank will use remote items capture, the use of couriers, and certain electronic supplements. 

According to the filing, the organizers plan to raise $9.0 million to $20.0 million in startup capital, including $1.1 million of organizational funds raised from the organizers and founding investors.

Major said the bank is expected to open Aug. 1, at the earliest, but it will likely open between this date and sometime in October. 

Major, who has approximately 18 years of banking experience, will be joined by fellow executive Richard Graver, who will be the president and chief lending officer. Graver has 25 years banking experience and most recently was employed at National Penn Bank.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007


The former CEO of Patriot Bank has received approval to start The Victory Bank in Royersford. It will be southeastern Pennsylvania's 17th startup bank since July 2004 and the sixth scheduled to open this calendar year. 

Joseph Major will serve as CEO and will engage in a fundraising effort in which he hopes to raise between $9 million and $20 million before opening on Lewis Road, off of Route 422, in the fourth quarter. Major said if the bank reaches the high-end of its fundraising goal, the bank will branch out faster in its target radius west to North Coventry, north to Boyertown and east to Pottstown and Royersford. He wants future branches to be located near routes 422 and 100, the main roads in that area. 

Major acknowledged the crowded group of startups, though only Conestoga Bank in Upper Uwchlan is based in that same area and that bank's parent just bought 13-branch First Penn Bank of South Philadelphia. 

"With technology like Internet banking and remote deposit, I don't think having a branch on every corner is the future of banking," Major said. "We can provide a niche alternative in the marketplace. And while a lot of startups extend into this area, for us this is our base." 

Major said all but one of the bank's 10 board members and 25 out of 40 members of the organizing committee both live and work in the customer radius. 

Richard Graver, a 15-year veteran of National Penn Bank, will serve as president and chief lending officer. Major said the bank will focus on representing business with sales $10 million and below, offering basic commercial lending and cash management services. It will also offer retail products such as checking accounts and home loans. Unlike other startups, it will not offer insurance or wealth management. 

The Victory Bank name is one Major had been kicking around at one of his previous employers that was considering a name change. It is meant to signify sharing in the victories of its customers. 

Major was a name partner at a small Pottstown law firm who served on the board of Patriot, then a thrift, in the early 1990s when a deal to sell it to Sovereign Bancorp fell through. Major first became president and then CEO at a time when the bank began to raise money through an eventual conversion into a public company. He said the bank grew its assets from $220 million to $1.1 billion by the time he stepped down as CEO in 2000. Patriot was sold to Susquehanna Bancorp a few years later. Major spent some time as president of Vartan National Bank in Harrisburg and then consulted with another startup, Colonial American Bank of Horsham, before it opened earlier this year. 

Along with Colonial American, Fort Washington-based Vantage Point Bank has also opened for business and a trio of Bucks County startups are on the way. Milestone Bank of Doylestown and Prestige Community Bank of Newtown are scheduled to open this summer and Monument Bank, also of Doylestown, is scheduled for the fall. 

Stevens & Lee partner David Payne, a lawyer who works with startups on initial fundraising, said some are now having problems raising the minimum capital of $6 million required to open a bank in Pennsylvania. 

"Investors have been getting flooded with offers and many of them have already invested the portion of their portfolio that they want to invest in a startup bank," Payne said. 

Payne said some banks have been forced to hold a second offering, which can cause roughly a quarter of original investors to back out after sensing economic problems. 

To make it now, Payne said startups need a niche market. He said Major has settled in a region he knows well that also has less competition than startup happy Bucks County or the Main Line. But there are also fewer business opportunities there. 


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Victory Bank, a planned startup bank in Royersford, Pa., has extended its initial stock offering for a month to Nov. 15 so it can collect the remainder of its $9.5 million in commitments, CEO Joseph Major said Wednesday. 

Major said the perceived credit crunch created by the subprime mortgage crisis coupled with the typically slow period of July and August put a crimp in fundraising. The bank hoped to raise $9 million to $20 million in initial capital. 

Major said he has collected more than half the committed $9.5 million and believes the bank can ultimately raise more than $10 million. He said the bank should open within 15 days after the offering ends. 

The former Patriot Bank CEO said the amount raised will determine how fast the startup expands in its target radius to North Coventry, north to Boyertown and east to Pottstown and Royersford. He wants future branches to be located near routes 422 and 100, the main roads in that area. 

Victory Bank would be the 13th startup bank to open its doors in southeastern Pennsylvania since July 2004. Six others are in the planning stages.