Insurance brokerage ready to make its push

C.W. Smith has a new employer and a new mission — all at his old insurance brokerage.

C.W. Smith has a new employer and a new mission — all at his old insurance brokerage.

Smith was hired to lead the local offices of Citizens Clair Insurance Group, a brokerage he used to lead for the now-defunct Waypoint Bank. Waypoint sold the brokerage to Citizens Clair last year shortly before being swallowed up by Sovereign Bank, leaving Smith out of a job.

Sovereign Bank still owns the old Waypoint benefits consulting unit. It is called Sovereign Benefits Consulting.

Now, Smith said he has a mandate to pursue bigger clients than the Waypoint agency served and to grow the business.

“My job is to hire people and make acquisitions,” Smith said.

Smith said Citizens originally offered him a different position with its insurance brokerage — one of the biggest in the country. But he would not have been in the Harrisburg area full-time and wasn’t interested.

Citizens Clair’s push matches a broader effort by the bank to push into the Central Pennsylvania market, according to Bob Hill, the insurance group’s chief operating officer.

“That’s why we came out to (the) Harrisburg-York area, was because that’s where the bank’s going,” he said.

Bill MacKenzie is nearing his one-year anniversary as Capital Region president, a post that was created when he arrived. Citizens has hired four new commercial lenders since MacKenzie’s arrival, bringing the team to about 20. It has only expanded by one branch — an office slated to open in a Giant Food Stores grocery at the Camp Hill Mall. But MacKenzie said Citizens executives have made a concerted effort to be more visible in the community.

And he may just be getting started now that he’s settled in. “I’m in danger of knowing my way around,” he said.

By the numbers: Fall is upon us. (In finance-speak, the fourth quarter is nearing.) But recently released numbers allow us to take a fond look back to the early summer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in late August published financial reports on the second-quarter earnings of small banks.

Some saw a smashing improvement: Province Bank jumped from a loss of $338,000 in the first half of 2004 to $42,000 of good money through June 30 of this year.

York Traditions Bank, which is approaching its three-year anniversary, lost $110,000 through the first half of 2005. Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Kochenour was pleased with the results. “We’re continuing to grow well and look for additional, good, strong performance in the year ahead,” he said in a voice message.

Vartan National Bank dropped steeply, from earnings of $641,000 in the first half of 2004 to $43,000 this year. Province and York Traditions officials did not return calls seeking comment. A Vartan official could not be reached.

On the move: Union National Community Bank is building a 27,000-square foot facility at the corner of Lausch Lane and Manheim Pike in Manheim Township, Lancaster County. The building will house most of the bank’s key leaders, but a bank spokeswoman said the official headquarters will stay in Mount Joy Borough. Adams County National Bank opened a new operations center near Gettysburg.

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