Reliance Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Bancshares, Inc., was founded in Des Peres, MO, on April 16, 1999 by a small group of St. Louis area private investors. Over the ensuing eight years the Bank expanded to 20 branches in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area including four in Illinois and 16 in Missouri. During this period, assets and capital grew as a result of increased commercial real estate loans and several capital injections by Bancshares.
In 2006-2007 Reliance opened loan production offices in Phoenix, AZ and Houston, TX. Additionally, in 2006, Bancshares formed a second wholly owned subsidiary and opened a Thrift, Reliance Bank, F.S.B., in Fort Myers, FL. In 2007, Bancshares registered their shares of common stock with the SEC and thereby become a publically traded company.
The severe economic recession that began in late 2007 and accelerated in September 2008 created great stress on the loan portfolio of both bank subsidiaries. The decline of the real estate markets in the St. Louis and southwestern Florida areas, as well as Texas and Arizona, caused a significant increase in Bancshares’ nonperforming loans in 2007 and 2008.
Between 2009 and 2011 Bancshares took large losses and incurred significant pressure from Bank regulators to raise additional capital and reduce nonperforming loans. In June 2010, the Board hired Allan Ivie to stabilize Bancshares. In response to the regulatory pressure, throughout 2010 and 2011, the Board of Directors unsuccessfully attempted to raise new capital from private equity firms. As a result of these occurrences, in February 2012, the Board hired Brouster & Associates, headed by well known and highly successful turnaround expert Thomas H. Brouster, Sr., as consultants.
Mr. Brouster and his long-time partner Gaines Dittrich led an intense effort by management throughout 2012 and 2013. As a result of these efforts, Bancshares’ asset quality began to improve and operating losses were minimized. In March 2013, Mr. Brouster and a group of investors raised $31 million of new capital for Bancshares. About $24 million of this new capital was injected into Reliance Bank and thereby immediately making it one of the best capitalized banks in the St Louis area.
Reliance Bancshares is now a privately held company that is majority controlled by Mr. Brouster. As a benefit to shareholders, Bancshares’ common stock continues to be traded via the Pink Sheets under the symbol of RLBS.
Reliance Bank has entered a new phase of controlled growth with a focus on building long term comprehensive relationships with our customers. Our goal is to build the premier community bank in the markets that we serve.