Friday, May 24, 2024 May 24, 2024
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It’s a Down Economy: How About Opening a Bank?

Newcomer Collin Bank is keeping it local.
photography by Chad Windham

Arguably, starting a bank in today’s economy is like selling iceberg timeshares from the bridge of the Titanic.

But Richard “Ro” O’Connor and the people at Collin Bank have done just that—started a bank, that is.

“We’re beneficiaries of really good timing,” says O’Connor, who turns 54 this month.

Come again?

It turns out that many banks that have already been in the game have tied up some of their cash with bad real estate/development investments. So, local investors were looking for a bank that doesn’t have such skeletons in its closet.

And, like real estate itself, Collin Bank’s success is closely tied to location, location, location, O’Connor says.

“If you look at the Collin County market, the demographics are terrific,” he says. “Collin County is the most affluent county in Texas,” and Frisco’s median income comes in at $106,000 per household.

Collin Bank offers customers a Frisco-based, locally chartered bank where most employees are also owners.

O’Connor, the bank’s president and CEO, has been a CFO or a chief operating officer for various Dallas-area banks for nearly 35 years. He’s also been an instructor at Southern Methodist University for 20 years.

The bank, whose first and—so far—only branch opened on Frisco’s Coleman Boulevard in February 2008, has yet to turn a profit. Last Sept. 30, the bank reported a loss of $1.2 million to the FDIC.

O’Connor says it usually takes four to five years for new banks to turn profitable because of the great expense that goes into starting them up.

“We think we’ll start having monthly profits beginning the second quarter of 2009,” he says.