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Former Metro Bank leader not ruling out return to banking outside of Central Pa.

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Gary Nalbandian
Gary Nalbandian - (Photo / )

If the "right situation" comes along outside of Pennsylvania, former Metro Bank president and CEO Gary Nalbandian said he would consider building up another bank.

The 74-year-old, who this week announced his full-time return to commercial real estate at Wormleysburg-based NAI CIR, said he could see partnering with investors to buy a small, older bank and retooling it for growth.

"(But) there are very few people selling banks today," Nalbandian said, calling it a long shot for him.

He remains a large shareholder in F.N.B. Corp. of Pittsburgh, which acquired Swatara Township-based Metro Bank last year.

"I have a moral obligation not to start anything in Central Pennsylvania," he said.

However, if the right deal appeared in a large market like Denver, Houston or parts of North Carolina, he said he would consider it. "I would envision a big city and I would be doing it more as a guiding force and letting the young guys do the work."

Nalbandian still likes the Metro Bank model, which lives on overseas. Vernon Hill, his former business partner, started Metro Bank PLC in London in 2010. A hallmark of Metro is extended hours and being open seven days a week.

Nalbandian said he came back to NAI CIR, the midstate's largest commercial real estate firm, because he missed deal-making.

He also had a lot of former clients reaching out to him in need of help with bank financing and real estate projects, he said. "It's hard to say 'no' to old friends and clients. And you can't be in with one foot and out with the other. (Real estate) is an all-consuming job."

Plus, he said he doesn't see himself ever fully retiring from business. "I have a lot of friends in their 80s who are still working. That doesn't mean you can't work smarter and put in less hours."

He currently splits his time between Harrisburg and Denver, where he has family and some personal real estate investments.

"I don't feel any different than when I was in my 60s or my 50s," Nalbandian said.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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