Washington Business Report - March 16, 2014

(WJLA) - Community banks slam dunk for some small businesses

Some small businesses feel forced to watch their backs when working with big banks. Sometimes it's the varied high fees, or the threat a big bank will sever its relationship with a small company when times get tough.

Instead, find a bank that will look out for you, says Marissa Levin, Founder and Chairman of Information Experts.

"It is because of the relationships. It is because of the similar philosophies that they see the long haul. [Community banks] see the long view; they know that it takes a long time to build a business," Levin told Washington Business Report, noting that her company had the support of a community bank, even during times when turning a profit wasn't so easy.

"It takes a long time to build an infrastructure, and they're willing to work with us and really partner with us to make sure that we're doing the right things."

Banks such as 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia, Bank of Georgetown, Cardinal Bank, Colombo Bank and Congressional Bank are among the many banks in the Washington region considered community banks - with employees familiar with their local communities, customers' financial goals, and with potential to build bridges with local business on a personal level.

"Sometimes you hit bumps in the road, you have a hiccup, and you have to work with these [small businesses]," says Bob Pincus, Vice President of Eagle Bank, the largest community bank in the Washington area. He says community banks pride themselves on getting to know their customers better.

CEO Profile: Disney, Marvel, motorbikes all under Feld's big top

A graduate of Murch, Deal and then Wilson High School in the DCPS, Ken Feld says his father gave him all the business schooling he needed.

When his family acquired Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the mid-1980s, Feld jumped right in on the act. Now, the innovator walks the tightrope between keeping tradition alive and building fresh shows for his audiences with the help of his three daughters, Nicole, Alana and Juliette.
"If it were to stop with me, then I've totally failed," Feld told Washington Business Report's Rebecca Cooper, noting each of his daughters plays a major role in not only the circus, but Disney on Ice and newer projects such as Marvel Universe Live and Nuclear Cowboyz.
Feld Entertainment had an estimated $1 billion in revenue last year, boasting approximately 5,000 shows for 30 million people worldwide.