If you don't see images, click here to view
| Forward to a Friend
Story Ideas? Events  To ensure delivery, please add mark@bisnow.com to your address book, learn how
Women Bisnow
June 3, 2008


This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


Shaza Andersen, CEO of WashingtonFirst Bank, thinks customer service is a lost art. So when she founded her bank back in 2004, she decided it would be the “Nordstrom of Banking”: a place where “they don’t just talk about customer service, but actually deliver.” Guess it worked—in the past four years she’s opened nine branches, grown to 70 employees and gone from zero to $260 million in assets.



So how does one go about starting a bank? Shaza says like anything else, it’s “a process.” Her background helped: She was COO of Century National Bank until 2001, when it was acquired by United Bank. After her non-compete expired, she formed an organizing group and raised $9.5 million in capital to start WashingtonFirst. She says that to her surprise, the approval process was fairly easy. She cut the ribbon in April ‘04 and acquired two branches of Greater Atlantic Bank: one on Connecticut Avenue in November ’04 and in Sterling in April ’05. Five quarters and WashingtonFirst had broken even, and that was before it acquired First Liberty National Bank in September ’06. Today, Shaza is seeing returns on her philosophy to get to know her customers rather than gauge them. It led her to steer clear of the sub-prime lending rush.



Originally from Lebanon, Shaza’s family moved to Boardman, Ohio in 1980. After high school, she headed to George Mason where she met Marc, to whom she’s been married 17 years.  She and Marc have two children (a 6th and 2nd grader) who she still takes to the bus stop every day. “It’s not about finding a balance,” Shaza says, “because they don’t weigh the same. It’s about figuring out how to make everyone happy.” She also tries to find time for herself—either with a personal trainer or on the tennis court. As for advice to readers with a hankering to starting their own business, Shaza says the key is having a plan with a timetable. She says a lot of people see the big picture, but fail to implement the day-to-day goals. “You have to celebrate the small things,” she says.    

Stacey Pfarr is Bisnow’s About Town Editor.


Advertise with Bisnow
Reznick Group
R&R Catering


CONTACT EDITORIAL                             CONTACT ADVERTISING                              CONTACT GENERAL INFO

This newsletter is a journalistic news source which accepts no payment for featured interviews. It is supported by conventional advertisers clearly identified in the right hand column. You have been selected to receive it either through prior contact or professional association. If you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and unsubscribe at bottom of the newsletter. ? 2008, Bisnow on Business, Inc., 2300 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20037. All rights reserved.

| Subscribe
| Forward to a Friend
DC Real Estate Legal Bisnow Tech BisnowAssociation BisnowNYC Real Estate