|Few de novos born in 2009|
By Christina M. Mitchell
The year 2009 proved one of the most challenging for de novos in a generation, with just 20 new banks launched, a low not seen since the savings and loan crisis, according to data from SNL Financial.
Those that made it said upheaval in the industry left its mark in heightened regulatory scrutiny and difficult capital raises. Some added that investors, and at times regulators, questioned the wisdom of opening a new bank as the stock market crashed and failures soared.
"I think there was a general panic in the financial services industry during the time that we were filing our application," said Steve Stapp, CEO of Round Rock, Texas-based R Bank, which opened in June 2009. The bank's organizing group submitted its charter application to regulators in September 2008, a month that saw the undoing of several major financial institutions.