Howard Bank CEO Scully challenges business leaders to spend more time in Baltimore


Mary Ann Scully wants more people to spend personal time in Baltimore and help it prosper.

Scully, the CEO of Howard Bank (NASDAQ: HBMD), spoke to an audience of more than 150 people after receiving the Baltimore Museum of Industry's "Industrialist of the Year" award. She challenged people to educate themselves about the value of having a strong urban core to the entire region.

If someone doesn't think having an urban core is important to the region, that person needs to educate himself or herself, Scully said. She argued that a strong Baltimore City helps the suburbs in Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

After people have a better understanding for why having a strong urban core is important, Scully said the audience should "engage yourself more than you already are" in the city.

"Whether it's visiting it more regularly with your family, whether it's engaging in more debates and commitments, move beyond self-education to self-engagement," Scully said.

In her own experience, Scully has committed to Baltimore.

Though the bank she founded in 2004 was based in Ellicott City, she pitched it to investors as a bank serving the small and midsize businesses of Baltimore. Earlier this year Howard Bank closed its $163.4 million acquisition of First Mariner Bank and moved its headquarters from Howard County to Canton. Through the deal, Howard Bank became the largest bank headquartered in Baltimore with more than $2 billion in assets.

"We put our money where our mouth was," Scully said.

As a banker, Scully said it was important for Howard Bank to be in the city. While the move provided more space and a central location, it also helped ensure the bank would be closer to the people and businesses it serves.

"It's about connecting people, connecting people for ideas and connecting people with liquidity to those who don't have liquidity," Scully said. "That's all we do as bankers is connect people...Place is important and physical density is important."

Scully also serves on a number of local boards, including the Associated Catholic Charities, Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Greater Baltimore Committee.

In the final part of her three-pronged challenge, Scully said people need to leverage their own education and commitment and expand it to others.

"Unless we understand that as a region, we rise or we fall based on our urban core and we will not reach our full potential," Scully said.

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