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First new Southern Nevada community bank in a decade forming

A new community bank geared to ride the wave of Southern Nevada’s growth is forming in Las Vegas.

Lexicon Bank, a de novo institution in organization, expects to open its doors by summer with an office at Tivoli Village, becoming the first community bank to form in Nevada in more than a decade.

“A lot of the super-regionals (banks) decided to open up branches here in Las Vegas and felt they didn’t need to hire anyone from Las Vegas to do banking in Las Vegas,” said Lexicon Bank CEO John Miller, 40, also a member of its board of directors. “To me, that didn’t ring true as to what Vegas is.”

Miller said directors intend to become intimately acquainted with businesses to see how they tick as they build lending and banking relationships. With the community growing with massive new projects underway, board members are confident there will be a matching wave of new small businesses to service those projects.

For example, Miller noted that the World Market Center is developing a new convention center in downtown Las Vegas and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts at Symphony Park has become the city’s cultural centerpiece, yet there is little casual shopping or dining nearby. He expects that to change as small businesses discover niches to exploit.

The bank also plans to leverage the latest in technology to meet customer needs.

Raising $20 million

Following approvals from Nevada’s Financial Institutions Division and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the bank has issued an offering circular disclosing that it is presenting 2 million to 3 million shares at $10 per share with a minimum acquisition of 100 shares per investor.

Once the bank has reached a minimum of $20 million (the maximum is $30 million) in capitalization, the bank can conduct business.

Lexicon’s brick-and-mortar location will face the Rampart Boulevard side of Tivoli Village facing the Suncoast, with easy access from the street.

Lexicon Bank board chairman Russell Rosenblum, 48, whose RMR Capital invests in a variety of business ventures, including the Five Guys Burger franchise in Nevada, became involved with the bank following a chance meeting with Miller on a flight. Rosenblum said he was complaining about a bank investment he made before learning Miller was in banking as an investor early in his career and then as a community bank trouble-shooter later.

After the flight, Miller had convinced Rosenblum of the need for a new community bank and promised to call him when he was ready to start the process. That occurred about two years ago and the momentum has grown to the point where Lexicon is ready build its first bank office.

Local ties

Miller, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate who attended Notre Dame, gathered longtime local residents who believed in the need for a community bank that understood some of Nevada’s dependency on a cash-based economy dominated by gaming and tourism enterprises.

During the Great Recession, the number of community banks nationwide dwindled from around 10,000 institutions to 5,000 as a result of mergers and acquisitions and some bank failures. In Southern Nevada, only a handful of community banks with local decision-making institutions survived the economic downturn.

Since 2008, only 14 institutions nationwide have applied to become chartered after years of hundreds making applications annually, according to Miller. In Nevada, Meadows Bank was founded in 2008, the Bank of George opened in 2007 and, in 2005, the Bank of North Las Vegas was formed, changing its name to Valley Bank of Nevada in 2011.

Nevada Financial Institutions Division Commissioner George Burns said state and federal regulators work together when a bank is chartered.

“The process for granting a bank charter and the required deposit insurance is a joint one,” Burns said in an email. “All state requirements and all federal deposit insurance requirements must be met, and so the FID and FDIC work together with the organizing group to come to a determination.”

A spokeswoman for the FDIC said federal regulators review the credentials of bank directors and executives.

As part of the application filing, each organizer, proposed director, senior executive officer, and 10-percent-or-more shareholders submit Interagency Biographical and Financial Report and fingerprint cards for review. The FDIC and and state regulators use the information to conduct background checks.

Those background checks have been completed, clearing the way for Lexicon to raise capital to start operations

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Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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