In 2010, the country was in the middle of a recession, the financial market meltdown still dominated the headlines and trust in banks was lower than anyone could remember in our lifetime.
In the middle of all this economic gloom and doom, one new bank defied the odds and was granted a charter – the only one awarded in 2010 – by banking regulators. That bank was Lakeside in Lake Charles.
The idea for Lakeside came from local real estate developer Andrew Vanchiere. He was dissatisfied with his existing bank and in 2007 decided to do something about it. He rounded up a group of local businessmen who felt the same as he did and they raised the start-up capital and recruited the bank's management team. The bank opened late in the summer of 2010 in a temporary building while construction of the 6000-square-foot main began.
So how did Lakeside become the exception? According to bank president and CEO Mike Harmison, it was a combination of factors. "We had the capital, a conservative business plan, local board leadership and an experienced management team. And while this was impressive to the regulators, the strong economy in Southwest Louisiana helped convince them that we had what was needed to succeed.”
It appears the regulators' trust was not misplaced. In just two years, Lakeside went from being the country's only new bank to reporting triple and quadruple percentage growth in the key areas for financial strength and stability. By the end of 2011, several experienced local banking leaders joined the bank's management team, and the new main office, located at 4735 Nelson Road in Lake Charles, opened in mid-2012. Plans are underway for the opening of additional Lakeside branches in the very near future.
"Our growth and success is a testament to the trust our customers have placed in us," says Harmison. "The opening of our new building represents a big milestone and we have even bigger plans for the future. Our commitment to providing the region with excellence in local banking is stronger than ever.”