Magazine article American Banker

W. Va.'s One Valley Taking on Big Rivals with Brokerage Arm

Magazine article American Banker

W. Va.'s One Valley Taking on Big Rivals with Brokerage Arm

Article excerpt

One Valley Bank of Charleston, W.Va., is trying to stake a claim to the big-bank-dominated securities business by establishing a broker-dealer subsidiary.

The move, unusual for a bank with only $3.6 billion of assets, will position the company well if the Glass-Steagall Act is repealed, analysts said.

"If you're a One Valley, you have to make the decision to either get off the porch and run with the big dogs or stay at home," said Alex Hart, equity analyst at Ferris, Baker Watts Inc., in Baltimore. "It looks like they've decided to run with the big dogs."

The bank has operated a discount brokerage since 1981, but the decision to formally establish a securities affiliate shows the bank thinks it has a bright future in this business, analysts said.

During the past two and a half years, One Valley's mutual fund business has grown to more than $40 million, proving there is a strong demand for these types of products, said J. Randy Valentine, president of the new affiliate.

"(The decision) was pretty much customer driven," Mr. Valentine said. "We felt it was necessary to address our customers' needs, and the fact that our competitors are already doing this also factored into it."

Investment product buyers are no longer just large depositors, but include customers of all types and with a variety of financial needs, he added.

Another factor behind the decision was the customer confusion surrounding investment product sales from banks, Mr. Valentine said. …

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