Magazine article American Banker

Start-Up Hopes Speaking Tech Clients' Language Translates

Magazine article American Banker

Start-Up Hopes Speaking Tech Clients' Language Translates

Article excerpt

John Holaday, a former chief executive of a pharmaceutical development company, knows dozens of executives in the biotechnology industry and knows how they struggle to make themselves understood to bankers.

"When they enunciate their needs, they usually tend to give the technical details of their business, and bankers' eyes often glaze over," Mr. Holaday said. "And then the banker will start telling them better ways to manage their assets, without understanding a thing."

Last year he decided to do something about this: start his own bank. HarVest Bank of Maryland, scheduled to open in September, will target the nearly 300 biotechnology firms that have cropped up in the Maryland and Washington areas over the past few years. It also plans to serve professionals involved in general technology, medicine, and government contracting.

Mr. Holaday founded the Rockville bank with John "Jack" Hollerbach, a former banker who also worked for technology and government contracting companies. Mr. Holaday is chairman of the board, Mr. Hollerbach the president and CEO.

HarVest aims to provide more than just banking services. It will also connect customers with investors, strategic partners (while providing some strategic planning advice of its own), potential employees, and accountants and lawyers.

"Just like the post office was years ago, HarVest Bank of Maryland wants to be the center of the technology community," Mr. Holaday said.

He and Mr. …

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