‘Focus on the clients’

By Mike Lewis
Bill Talley is president and CEO of Frederick County Bank. When he takes a break, which is rare, he enjoys an iced tea.

Bill Talley, CEO, Frederick County Bank

By Mike Lewis
mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com

Coffee Break

In 2001, Bill Talley was the first person hired by Frederick County Bank in Maryland.

In November, he was named the bank’s president and CEO.

“I truly believe in the mission of the bank wanting to have a local presence for our clients,” he said during an interview in his office on the third floor of a downtown Frederick building.

Talley took on his new role Nov. 12, succeeding Marty Lapera. Lapera will stay on to help with the transition until his retirement takes effect on March 31.

Talley has deep roots in the community. Just up the street from his office is Isabella’s Taverna & Tapas Bar, housed in what used to be his grandparents’ business, the Hendrickson Dry Goods store. Hanging in a frame in his office is a Walkersville High School letter jacket. On the jacket is a patch reading “1959-60 State Champs” and “coach.”

“Coach” refers to Talley’s father, William R. Talley Sr., who died in 2007. In addition to coaching, the elder Talley worked with Frederick’s recreation department for decades. The city’s William R. Talley Recreation Center is named in his honor.

Talley’s mother, Louise, still lives in the family home near Hood College. And Talley lives just outside Frederick, about 10 minutes away from the bank’s headquarters.

He went to Walkersville High School and Frederick Community College.

“I went to Mount St. Mary’s (University in Emmitsburg, Md.) for my last two years,” he said. “I wanted to stay local.”

After receiving his degree in accounting and finance, he went to work with Stoy Malone and Co., a CPA firm. He said that, among other things, he was supervised by Ray Green as the firm did an audit for the former Frederick County National Bank.

He left the firm to work with companies in the agriculture business. After about eight years, he received a call from his former supervisor. Green told him the Frederick County National Bank had gone public and needed a comptroller.

Talley joined that bank in 1987, figuring that “banking would be a good career.”

“I guess it basically got me back into finance,” he said.

In May 2001, Talley became the first person hired by the then-new Frederick County Bank. The old Frederick County National Bank was acquired by BB&T that same year.

“I thought it was an interesting opportunity,” Talley said, stressing the local focus the bank maintains to this day.

On a break, is it coffee, tea, soda, water?

When I take a break, which is rare, my beverage of choice is iced tea.

An average day for you includes?

With my recent promotion on Nov. 12 to the position of president and CEO from executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, I am still figuring out what will be an average day for me. However, my role has changed from one being internally focused to one with an external focus. This involves moving from a role primarily dominated with financial and operational duties to one with attention to strategic planning, vision and leadership. I will have to see how my daily routine will evolve over the coming months.

In your years with the bank, what have been some of the biggest challenges, and how has the bank met them?

The bank opened in October 2001; however, the first major challenge was during our capital-raising phase. The offering of the bank’s stock was due to close in September 2001. Just days before the anticipated closing date, 9/11 happened, which caused the financial markets to go into a tailspin. With the large loss of financial worth, we had several shareholders either reduce or even cancel their purchase orders for the stock. We decided to move back the closing date, and this allowed the financial markets time to begin to heal. Many of the potential shareholders reinstituted their orders to purchase the stock. The offering was closed, and the bank was allowed to open. Since the bank was progressing well, we had a second offering in May 2002.

What are some of the most important challenges and opportunities on the horizon?

Probably the most challenging issue for the bank is the immense competition in Frederick County. The marketplace includes over a dozen financial institutions, several brokerage firms, mortgage companies and so on. We have our headquarters and our largest bank center on the Square Corner in Frederick. The competition is so fierce that if you walk 100 yards in any direction, you will encounter one of these financial companies. Our opportunities evolve from being a local bank. Our headquarters and its employees are local. Our decision-making is done in Frederick, which allows us to be very responsive to the needs and to meet the time requirements of our clients. We have had situations where our clients needed to have a loan decision within days, and this was accomplished by convening special loan committee or board of directors meetings.

Outside of work, what are your ambitions and aspirations?

Family is everything to me, and I spend most of my free time with them. My wife, Lydia, and I are very lucky that our sons and their families live within an hour’s drive of Frederick. I would like to instill in all of them the values of honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, self-worth and an optimistic attitude. If I can do that, then I feel that I have been very successful.

Want to share a cup of coffee with our readers? Send an email to facetime@crossroadsbizjour nal.com or call reporter Mike Lewis at 301-791-7482.