He started and sold two banks,
These days, he leads a bank headquartered in Bryn Mawr, the heart of the Main Line.
But Peters, of
Question: Why not?
Answer: Main Line to me has a little bit of snobbery and elitism to it. The first day I got here [in 2001], I took the words Main Line out of every ad, out of everything. We're a community bank serving the western suburbs.
Q: But doesn't the Main Line name have a certain cachet?
A: Good question, but I think the negatives outweigh the positive.
Q: Well, what about Bryn Mawr? How much more Main Line can you get?
A: I think the
Q: At the end of the year, you are stepping down from executive responsibilities at the bank, although you'll remain a board member. What's next?
A: I'm starting up a bank fund. It's going to be a hedge fund that invests in community bank stocks.
Q: What's your theory?
A: We're in an industry that has seen a lot of consolidation because of the low [interest] rate environment, squeezing banks. We're seeing increased regulatory pressure on banks. Every year it gets worse.
Q: And so?
A: If you buy stocks [in a bank] that is taken over, the increase in its [share] price the very first day is anywhere between 25 to 75 percent.
Q: So the trick is picking banks that are going to be sold. How do you do that?
A: There are certain characteristics: The CEO is 62 [or older]. There's a large family position that needs liquidity. They've been under a regulatory order, which is a very good thing if you want to buy a bank that might be taken over. Those banks have management fatigue because they are getting beat over the head all the time.
Q: Do you have a philosophy on compensation?
A: I think it's a major problem in this country, the income inequality we have. I firmly believe we should raise the minimum wage immediately. If someone works 40 hours a week, they should earn a living wage. It's absurd what some CEOs are making. You have CEOs who fail and they walk away with these huge packages.
Q: You started your first bank in your basement. Now you have a corner office and a private bathroom. Why do you have a poster from the movie Animal House hanging in there?
A: It's one of my favorite movies. I went to college in the Peace, Love, Woodstock era. Those people that made the movie were all in the Peace, Love, Woodstock era as well. It's just a great irreverent movie.
Q: It's in a spot where you see it often. Does it remind you of anything in your work?
A: Not really. Maybe, just enjoy life and don't take everything too seriously.
Title: Chairman, chief executive, president of
Family: Wife, Anne; children,
First career: Coached lacrosse and taught 7th grade social studies at the
Banking resumÉ: Worked at
In the backyard: Gardening, growing mega-pumpkins, cudgel-size zucchini, many tomato varieties.
Where: Bryn Mawr.
Nasdaq ticker: BMTC.
Interview questions and answers have been edited for space.
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