So just how and why did CFG Bank put its name on former Baltimore Civic Center?

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CFG Bank CEO and President Bill Wiedel talks about the history and future of downtown’s arena. And why his bank came forward to support the Oak View Group in supporting the new CFG Bank Arena, a phenomenal renovated and upgraded showcase and concert facility that is already packing ’em back into downtown for the greatest musicians in the world.


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Nestor Aparicio, Bill Wiedel

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

What about wn st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are doing the Maryland crabcake tour there will be a crabcake being delivered here in about 24 minutes on State Fair. I’ve had the crabcake here they’re delicious at COP salad today. Calm for the chicken and waffles the shrimp and grits. Delicious big happy hour going on. We’re doing this Maryland crab cake tour on Fridays we’re gonna be doing a special Tuesday edition up at the local and fallston but we’re doing it all because of the Maryland lottery. They sponsor us bill we Dell is gonna get a winning lottery ticket here we’ve given a few winners away already. And a lot of parties out here and people having fun it’s also brought to you by our friends at window nation 866 90 nation you buy tunes you get two free 0% financing. I get a banker here may say some 0% financing and where my wife’s looking at getting a car loan and she’s gonna buy a car from Dennis how much and and then I hear real estate prime and all this stuff. Here talk all things banking and hopefully a little Janet Jackson and Anita Baker on Mother’s Day weekend and get me ready for Bryan Adams Joan Jett kiss I wore my I wore this freeze my Aerosmith belt buckle. That’s Arizona. So I am I’m ready for the CFG Bank Arena. Congratulations, man. Thanks. Good to see you. Bill. We Dell is here from cfg. Bank. President right not? Right. Okay. And local. When I say meet meet me in Gainesville. I don’t have to give you direction. Correct.

Bill Wiedel  01:25

I grew up not far from here actually about maybe five miles south east and Lansdowne. So

Nestor Aparicio  01:31

Lansdowne, beautiful. You were a Viking were you? I was Yeah. There is a rumor that you were once a student of Don Mohler.


Ninth grade social studies. Absolutely.

Nestor Aparicio  01:41

What would you remember that what was that contemporary issues? Was that American history? You don’t remember


it? No, it was it was it was actually went back. Not only American history, but World History.

Nestor Aparicio  01:53

Okay. Yeah. Okay, so I didn’t know what He taught. And looking at you turned out your bank president.


Yeah, somehow. We got

Nestor Aparicio  02:01

Dundalk and Lansdowne coming together. So there you go. I was like Wonder Twins for for your bank. And I go back to almost getting a piece of business with your bank. 15 years ago, when Brian Billick bought into my company on behalf of living classrooms Foundation, we had a meeting with the then president of CFG bank, he was a Giants fan. We had a meeting at the center Club was sat down, and I left not really fully understanding what CFG bank was. But there was a point where they were going to have storefronts now go back a long time. And people started seeing the CFG bank pop up and Towson, but it’s your tower. If you go down at three strategically located right above our competitors, and what a five, seven right off the clock for you. Right? You’re there. And people would see it and say, and either bank there they don’t a little bit of advertising here and again, but I don’t know that people knew how local the bank is. And then you make this true splash in the last 90 days that more people, if you said to this group people now I’m with CFG bank, they would say, oh, that’s the arena. And they couldn’t have said that six months ago. Right? I mean, you You’ve changed a lot about your bank just in reputation alone.


Yeah. So I’ll say the number of people who have come up, have come up to me in the last few months, and said, I’ve never heard of you before. And now all I see is your name splashed all over the place. And so, so let’s go back Nestor, because basically what happened, what precipitated all this was when Howard bank sold about a year, year and a half ago, we recognized that we were going to be the largest bank headquartered in Baltimore. And we also recognized that not a lot of people knew about us because we only do commercial lending. We only have three branches. So there’s not a lot of touch points with your non

Nestor Aparicio  03:55

traditional passbook. I’m gonna see it in the mall. Right? You don’t I mean, you’re not on every Ritchie highway, mirror Boulevard and right your road. Correct. Right?


Yeah. And so. So when that happened, we said, Okay, we’re going to call our marketing firm, because our marketing plan just changed tremendously, right? Because this was an opportunity. And you know, you only get so many opportunities in life. So we want to take advantage of this. And while we’re going through that process of setting up the marketing plan, the invitation came from the Oprah group to learn about the the what they’re dealing with the arena and the opportunity for naming rights. And quite frankly, when they contacted me, they invited me to this little happy hour. And I thought to myself, Okay, well, you know, I’ll go and have a couple of drinks and a couple apps on you. And that’ll be that. I didn’t think there’ll be any way that we would be able to figure that out. And when after that meeting, we we started talking about it internally. And the geography group came back to us and said, you know, we you know, Got some interest, but we really like you guys. Not only because you’re local, but you got we’re very committed to the community in Baltimore. Not going anywhere. Yeah, exactly. And so, so they’re like, We want you to bid. And we looked at ourselves, we’re like, well, we’ve never done this before. We fortunately found out that there are actually consulting firms that specialize in valuing naming rights. So we went out and contacted one of those. And, and they’re great in terms of helping us see the value in various aspects of, you know, having a naming rights. And then they put us in touch with a couple other banks that are had already been through this process. And we talked to a couple of those and every person we talked to said, that far exceeded their expectations in terms of the impact of getting those

Nestor Aparicio  05:52

figures anyway, you can’t be pleased with it. I mean, I’m pleased in that. I’m not pleased to Janet Jackson’s more than I want to spend on Saturday night, and I saw sealed twice this week. And pricing is sort of everything for everybody, right? It’s yeah. How much is the crab cake good state fair, if it’s 60 bucks, nobody’s buying it. I know that because a couple years ago, everybody had to sell crab cakes at 60 bucks when when crab meat was $50 a pound. Right? Right. For me to see the roster. And I’m a concert guy man like I am I’m nobody goes to more concerts. Nobody’s been to more concerts than me. Unless you’re in a band. I mean, I go to a lot of shows, and I am there’s only so many nights $200 $300 nights I have in me in any given year, but we get a lot of 30 to $80 nights to me, not long nights and Merriweather. But not a lot of VIP. And I you know, I just I value what I value everybody can see it however they want to see it. There’s nothing in my life and I’ve called the 98 rock 467 Naro CK to get the concert updates since I was 10 years old. And I’ve seen every painters mill add every Merryweather package ABCDE and Sunday in 1981, to go see Anne Marie and Engelbert Humperdinck. Every capital center I was the cat was the music critic. Every 930 Club roster and even the bayou when I see the roster that the CFG bank has in play now and it’s been open eight weeks. Not even eight weeks, five weeks, six weeks, right? When I look at it, and I mean this, it looks like Madison Square Garden would look from a cruise coming in when and how often and the circus is so common because I looked at that the other day, but I went onto the website just to say when is Earth Wind and Fire and Lionel Richie? That’s August 19. And then there’s a show on the 78th as well. Barry Manilow is there off top my head just because I know this stuff. John Mayer is there in October kisses there in December then they had Aerosmith and the Black Crowes queen. I almost wore my queen belt. I have I have a queen belt buckle. It was that or Aerosmith but I thought I would impress you with the Aerosmith album. I


should order my Queen Socks. And All right,

Nestor Aparicio  08:16

good enough. That’s fine. We’re gonna have a queen now we have a king. I saw that last week and on television for whatever oak you promised, and I went to see John Mayer last year at USP up in New Jersey or Long Island. And then I went to the Austin arena to see Springsteen back in February before the arena here open. The promise was, we’re gonna have World World World Class. No, we’re not dressing the pig up, putting a coat of paint on it. And we’re gonna roll out one Aerosmith a year or one Eagles a year, maybe we get Springsteen every 10 years, for this first year. I’m blown away that there are concerts there that I can’t I can’t afford to go to all of them. And that’s, that’s just the reality. Right? But I want to go to all of you. That’s different.


Right? And so one of the great things about the group number one, they’re great people, they do business the right way they’re committed to the community, our partnership, has them contributing a certain amount of money to the bottom of our community as a part of the deal. That’s so that’s that’s who they are. But in addition, one of their founding partners is a guy named Irving Hayes off he’s a behind the scenes guy, but he’s probably one of the biggest guys in the music and everybody knows who he is. Yeah, okay. He’s a legend. He is a legend. And so that’s that’s how they’re able to bring these fantastic acts

Nestor Aparicio  09:40

to the you go into you go are you going to Janet Jackson?


I am. All right. Yeah, I was at lizard Tuesday night. I’m still paying the price for that. Was Lizzo Lyza was very entertaining. I will say my with all the teenage girls screaming it took a couple of days for my eardrums to recover from that. I went to

Nestor Aparicio  09:59

see co Wednesday night. It was my wife’s out of town with her family for Mother’s Day. They’re on a mountain in Nashville hiking, doing their thing. Drinking beer. I’m home with a cat. Right? I got back from now he likes okay. You know I’m working on. I love my work. I’m here at State Fair with Bill Dell from CFG Bank Arena, and CFG bank. And we’re having cocktails, people, we’re having fun. We’re giving away a lot. I got a good gig, right? But the CEO thing hit me an anthem on Wednesday and I and I had to drop my wife off the airport’s I’m halfway to DC already. three in the afternoon. Like a beautiful day. I’m gonna get on the water. I haven’t done it since before the play. You talk about a building? Have you been to the anthem? Yes, it is just a stunning. And I’ve been in that neighborhood and what they dream of there. And the act is a Pendry there. Right. All


the war. It’s an orphan DC, and they have done a fantastic job. You know, I’ve been there, you know, several times, you pull your car into the garage, you know, Friday night or Saturday morning, you don’t have to go back to your car at all. Because the one that will work our restaurants, bars, music, hotels,

Nestor Aparicio  11:04

dead crap. I’m calling Maryland fast, but they were in DC. But they have the same grabs we have here. And they had him on the day. I mean, it really was spectacular in a way that if you haven’t been down there, it’s very grown up, right. And it’s something that you see that you want to bring here. It’s something that we all know, I have my differences with John Angelos. And you might have differences with Wes Moore, I don’t know. But Wes and John went down to Atlanta, to see what they did in baseball, say, How can we bring that here? And now we’re trying to figure out the Inner Harbor, right? And then we got to Top Golf and when we got things happening in the city, somebody came in and you are the first one you want Jack and the bank to say, All right, we’re gonna put maybe not you guys maybe he’s Weller, and a port Covington that they’re rebranded and I’ll never call it that. By the way. You know, you’ll put a location there one day, and always be port Covington to me. I like lands downs lands down to you and to me, but you were the first one to put your name up on the arena. You’re first in the Orioles are getting better the Ravens have Lamar I’ll get all that right. But you were the first ones to say we’re gonna take the elephant the 60 year old, old tired girl that I you know my affinity of the civic center right? Yeah, Bob. I’m the guy loves it. I always have loved it. Always. I miss it. It was kind of cool being an old girl for the Eagles. Looking forward to going back. But you you invested in it. And you’re a Baltimore company. That’s why I brought you out today more than anything else to say. What do you see? What do you see? Tell them what they need to see when they come in for Lizzo or Janet Jackson, or what cars are going to come in? coming in. I’ve already got Manilow in Lionel Richie tickets. We’re coming to John Mayer. We’re gonna go see KEN I mean, it’s appointment.


Yep. So I’m going to talk I’ll talk about the arena and the Baltimore presents in combination, and then come back to the arena. I like to share this story. Because people have asked question you just asked about the arena about the Baltimore Peninsula. And what I I share a story where I remember reading one Kevin Plank decided to put the headquarters of Under Armour in Baltimore City. So however, many years ago, and somebody came up to him and said, what, what are you thinking? Why would you ever do that? Put it inside Baltimore City. And Kevin had the best response. He said, If I don’t do it, who will? And what that means is he has the wherewithal to do it, and the desire to do it. And when I tell people is, you know, I when I think about that, and when I think about what we’re doing while we’re no Under Armour, we’re in a similar position, where we have the ability to do these things to participate, to participate and to be a leader, quite frankly, right. And, and we have the desire to do it. And so when we when we looked at the arena initially, it fit in perfectly with our plan, you know, Howard bank, that’s old, and we love Marianne. Yep. Love. Marianne this morning. Doing she’s doing fantastic. She’s

Nestor Aparicio  14:14

one of my truly favorite people that I’ve come across in life and in business that has been a truly trusted confidant to me. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever said that, because they never really spotted they sponsored us for a minute and a half, and sort of a smallest way. But you know, but behind the scenes, having someone in the banking world that you can trust when you’re buying and selling a company which she was a very trusted resource of mine in 2008, nine and 10. You know how the banking world looked at that point. I remember she and I went out on the back at the Four Seasons when I was brand new, and she gave me 30 minutes. We’re trying to have a heart to heart out the reason I’m still in business 15 years later, a piece of advice that she gave me. So she’s a special cumin. You So when you say Howard bank and you say Marianne, she also sent me a great meal in Pittsburgh one night, but she’s from that side of the fence. You know, she’s, well, she’s, yeah, we got through that. But anyway, so Howard bank was they she and that group worked very, very hard. And Ed Hale before that worked very, very hard in making Baltimore more than a branch town,


correct? Yes. And so by the way, she is killing it at Loyola School of Business. I knew that. Yeah. So I just came from meeting there this morning, right? Yeah. So I know she’s killing it. Not surprising that

Nestor Aparicio  15:38

bet on Mary and whatever she’s doing, she’s doing it? Well.


Yeah. So you know, so when we’re looking at the arena, and we’re talking internally, with various people, including our board board of directors, you know, some people brought up the idea that well, you know, it’s in a rough part of town, you know, do we really want to do that. But as we talked to the oak view group, and the folks that they put us in touch with, do, they’ve done this all over the world, sometimes they build from scratch, sometimes they renovate. And they told us a story of another arena in LA, that was in a rough part of town. And within a very short period of time, there was a five block radius that was thriving because of that arena. So you think about the safety Bank Arena. Right now it’s, that’s killing it. They’re they’ve sold the sweets faster than Austin Austin’s than their own music venue in the country. They, we’ve sold our sweets faster than them. We’ve sold season tickets, faster sponsorships faster, and the tickets for the shows. And obviously, these bands are playing. Our tickets are selling faster than pretty much every other. I

Nestor Aparicio  16:48

would also say it cost more to see a show in Baltimore right now, because there’s a demand to go to the shows. Janet Jackson is 15 and $20. In some markets in some markets, Springsteen was it. I paid $40 to see Springsteen in Atlanta, I paid $26 to see Springsteen and Houston. You couldn’t walk in the building for under two and a quarter. And it really is because there’s a demand about the arena, about Baltimore about it being unique about it being smaller about it being something to see. Yeah. And I don’t know why that is, but it’s a fact.


Yeah. Well, I can help you out with that a little bit. So I’ve gotten to know Frank Ramesh, you know, Frank noted a long, long time VP and General Manager 35 years I believe in

Nestor Aparicio  17:36

unbelievable job there long before you came along. Yep. Getting you to and the Eagles and Bruce gray and the Rolling Stones and leaving me out Emirati right. Well, it’s


a long list. Yeah, it’s a big list. And so he basically told me before the group came here, he could always sell the market. We could he could, because it’s a good market for concerts here. He could not sell the area. And that was that was the hard part. Because people, you know, obviously, it didn’t a lot of people wanted to plow it into the ground and start over

Nestor Aparicio  18:06

and I didn’t have premium anything. That’s just where it’s at. Right.


So now, so by the way, so for the people who don’t know, the elephant group literally totally gutted the place and totally redid it. It now has state of the art acoustics. People will not recognize it when they go the acoustics.

Nestor Aparicio  18:21

I mean, it’s it sounds like it’s built for music, because it has been correct. It hasn’t been built for opera and not hockey. Like it was in 1962. Yeah. I had a shining moment at the Eagles concert. Did I tell you the moment that I had,


I believe that you have to refresh my memory.

Nestor Aparicio  18:40

I told the story. I didn’t go to the bathroom at the eagle show. I had a really good seat. And as you know the Eagles don’t have any not hits. Right. And it’s not even about hits. I love the Eagles like I love seal the other night. I don’t want to go to the bathroom. Therefore I don’t drink a whole lot because I I learned right ballgame. You get 18 chances to pee, you know football you get some time out, you know, but concert. You know, you might get a guitar solo if you know what you’re doing. I decided to Peter and fund 49 Because it’s been you know, it’s a little stretchy. And I left to go pee and I went down instead of off. And I didn’t even know what I was entering. I went into what was a function room there were function rooms underneath the section set function room 10214106 function room 102 was where I had every press conference when I was 15 1617 years old. Which YouTuber Yako the function rooms 104106 were where every rock and roll band I met Stevie Wonder in that room in that in what is now your bar. I met Stevie Wonder that was where they did all meet and greets where I met Bon Jovi. I mean on and I could go through the list of my music critic days I walked down in there and there and there was no one in there because the concert was going on. And I when I went down, it was like a shining moment, I walked into this space that’s, like, really special to me in a lot of ways. I mean, I interviewed Ric Flair in that space, right. You know, as a reporter, I just I walked in. And it was a space I had been in my whole life, but it was a different space. And it was shiny, and bright and beautiful. And I’m running and I had to pee and the Eagles are playing. And I want to look at the Led Zeppelin poster. And I want to look at the Rolling Stones poster and I want to look at the Elvis stuff. And I’m like, I’m not a tourist. I’ll be back. I didn’t get a tour ahead of time. And I’m glad I didn’t have a tour because I’m glad I had this moment. There were waiters and waitresses near the bar was open, but there was no one at the bar could have stolen the bar. And I just went in and I peed. And as I’m in their pee and I’m thinking oh my god, did I did that just happen. And I’m like, I’m in a hurry to get back in but I’m looking at that Zeplin poster. So I came out a little I took a selfie with a zeppelin poster I ran back out to my seat and I sat down the song still playing it was a 45 second little in and out and I said to my wife you have to pee and she’s like no I don’t and I said no no you have to pee you’re gonna pee during the Encore you’re gonna walk down there and see this because you’re not gonna believe it and she walked down we saw together waited encore went back out watch Desperado did all that I haven’t been back and I’m gonna go back I want it made me want to drink in it made me that if I go to jail if I score Janet Jackson ticket on Saturday night. I’m well first I want to get there early to see ludicrous. But if I score Janet Jackson ticket, unlike almost every other arena where what I lose on at 725 I’ll walk in at 710 p and sit down. I’m probably going to want to get there early to just experience it. It was a it was a beautiful space. So I that’s the only story I have for you really other than it’s kind of dark on purpose. It’s a little cramped in areas because they couldn’t build it out like Fenway Park or Lambeau Field. That is what it is. But as taking the venue and making it something new. The thing that makes it beautiful for me from my heart was seeing the Eagles play in the same place. My dad took me to see the clippers, and my dad took me to see Meadowlark Lemon in Korea. And the place where I grew up in the elevator and the place I covered my first hockey game and I entered the place. I went as a kid to get a hockey puck from the old clippers. Well, my dad’s day off, you know, like it’s a special place. Yeah, it means a lot to


they did a great job. One of the brilliant things they did was they opened up the spaces. So when you go into the concession areas behind this stands, it’s not these narrow hallways any longer. You don’t have to wait for anything either. No, they’ve designed it’s

Nestor Aparicio  22:57

like a royal farm. You grab the beer you scan you go


Yeah, yeah. Which is oh,

Nestor Aparicio  23:02

God, right. Yeah. I mean, you don’t miss songs. You don’t wait like yes,


but let’s go back to the My Frank rubbish conference conversation. He was telling him how he sang earlier how he

Nestor Aparicio  23:14

lived downtown. So I’m the wrong guy. I would walk over to see Van Halen to see Leonard Skinner. Like, I didn’t have that challenge. It’s it’s always been beautiful to me, I guess, but not everybody else. All


right. Well, what Frank is telling me now now that we have a world class concert venue, and a great market. The bands are calling him now he doesn’t have to call anybody the word is spreading throughout the music industry, that Baltimore now has a little class music venue. And they want to come here. And so you know, between that, you know, their bid on the Paramount music venue down in by the horseshoe. We’re gonna have fans coming through here all the time now. Well, part of

Nestor Aparicio  23:58

it is supporting it. And part of the things that do support in and around everything. And I’ve talked to I had run like LeBron last week, I invited you down families, because I was trying to keep it a neighborhood. You’re from the side of town and you had the date today. So we put it here. Stay fair. By the way, it’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery and our friends at window nation. 866 90 nation seven windows giveaway America lottery tickets, we had a lot of winners here earlier today had a $10 winner over the corner, who was very, very happy that I bought them their first drink today, or the Maryland lottery did at least the notion that you’re going to come down and go to C six at the Hippodrome or you’re going to come down and see Lizzo or you’re going to come down to an Oracle game or your you know, whatever it’s going to be there’s going to be food it’s going to be an experience and part of that is the hardware is going to be rethought the you’ll call it by it’s not God given name but I’m gonna continue to call for commented that like all of that’s going to happen, but the experience of going to a meet us with my wife, and then go and see him Bryan Adams and Joan Jett walking cross city When we went to the Eagles, we had dinner at a meat cheese and we walked across the city. We parked in Little Italy and did it that way, right? But then finding a place to park finding a place to eat, finding your mojo for an Oreo game for whatever your downtown experiences, I think that it’s the crab cake tour. crabcakes All right, man. Thanks to Evan Keith and everybody out here at stage. This is a great crowd on either this is a great crab cake. We’ll get to these in a minute. But but but the notion that you’re going to want a crab cake, right, and no offense, the state fair or Beaumont row guapo, that you would come here now and eat this before Janet Jackson, it’s 445 In the evening, and then go down to the arena and go to the bar that um, that the gold beautiful bar that I’m talking about. But the notion that downtown as a full on destination for dining, entertainment, after the show, a place to walk to get a beer, all of that you were the first ones to buy in and say, don’t judge it by what it is come down and participate. But see the vision of what this is going to be five years from now, when we stack five years ago, Janet Jackson’s and Liz’s and John Mayer’s and this kind of act with a baseball team with a football team with a harbor that there is a 3.0 There’s a renaissance happening here. And I talked to Ron about it in the new Lexington market, right. There’s there’s a lot to be proud about. And that’s why I’m Baltimore positive. There’s so many bills and Frank’s and Pete Collins coming on in three weeks. By the way, he’s in June. But people in Kirby Fowler running parts of the city and then going to the zoo. They’re good people in this city. They really care. And it pisses me off when people say I’m not going down there because of x or y or z. I want you to say I’m going down there because CFG bank, Frank Rhenish the arena Lizzo, Janet Jackson, the eagle, whatever your tastes, the Orioles Radley rutschman we need we need people to have that message. And it’s important for you to step ups really important.


Well, you know, appreciate your saying that. One of the things that I the way I see it is people are people are going to come down to see the shows, right? Because like you say you you want to see, you know, certain artists. And I think what’s happening is people are talking about these shows like it was an event like hey, if you weren’t there, you missed something. And that’s I see that happening.

Nestor Aparicio  27:35

You are the Eagles you miss something Correct? Correct. I mean, if you weren’t a Springsteen, you miss something. Yeah, I miss Lizzo the other night and it was all over my Facebook I mean everybody it’s not my music per se no, but you would call me and said that 630 I got a ticket. I would go on because I love music but I was in my I was at seal I couldn’t go and I was at sea on Wednesday night because I that’s what I wanted to do. But I mean I’m a three to four night a week concert guy and look it’s no secret the Orioles in the Ravens they credential my employee and not me. So I’m uninvited to those places from from a work standpoint. It is open the passion for my rock and roll in a way that and and there’s no no offense to your arena. I love Merriweather I was America. I love the anthem. I was here the other night. I didn’t love the met up in Philadelphia. Incidentally, I it’s not a place I would go back. I you know, I don’t feel that way about the arena. Certainly. But Merriweather. I was at em three all day last Saturday with my wife. And it’s just, it’s lovely. And it’s lovely that we have it and we almost lost it. And I’ve told that story. And that’s community development with Seth Hurwitz, and then putting concerts on. But my summer calendar is built around Barry Manilow and Earth Wind and Fire in Lionel Richie because I’m not going to miss those events. And we haven’t had that in the city made me want to move back into city bill. The decision to do this it takes me a little bit more about and how the sausage is made because you even have admitted in the beginning and you’re understated in your nature. But you weren’t really all that interested. You didn’t You didn’t understand it. And now as you sit here and I was with you having lunch maybe six months ago before you decided to do it, that we would be here having a crab cake and you’d be on your 10th concert into this it didn’t even seem like your personality or even Jackson it you’re having a lot of fun with this. It’s been a wonderful thing for


you end up well you know, the interesting thing is my bike I was the CFO before I got into this role so that I’m I’m a numbers guy puncher, but I’ve I’ve adjusted since I’ve been in this role, and I saw the value of I mean, it was the timing was absolutely perfect for us to get our name out there. And you know, and so that was obviously a driving force. But you know, as we talk to people, you know about that, you know, the challenge the challenges is that we could face we said that’s okay, we’re so good. To do it, but but also the gun to the heart of your question. The thing that really, really helped was getting to know the people at the Oak view group. They they’ve had such great success doing this and so many other places, and we’ve talked to other people who work with them. There are a lot of people said,

Nestor Aparicio  30:15

it can’t be done here. It’s Baltimore. It ain’t gonna do. You know, it’s very easy to, to piss on things. And I don’t like that. And for somebody to open their eyes and say, No, we’re, we’re going to do it. If there’s a model for this, and there’s no reason we can’t do it correctly. If these resources we have assets here. Yeah, terrible assets.


No, you’re right. There’s been so much negativity around Baltimore, that and that’s why people were saying that, but TiddlyWiki, who isn’t another founding partner of the Altria group, he was the first general manager of the Baltimore blast. So he has some roots in Baltimore. He remembers the rats in the office 45 years. Yes, yes. And so, you know, I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty sure he’s, he was the one who probably convinced his management team, Baltimore’s. We’re going to Baltimore, it will absolutely work in Baltimore.

Nestor Aparicio  31:01

Well, it’s working man. It really is. And I want to say this to you is we’re in state fair here. There’s young people, old people, black people, white people, right people left people, North college people Oriole fans, or NBA Draft watch was all this sports in my life and 31 years, and I wouldn’t have written this in my books, right? It’s the thing that’s brought people together parades around the football team. I don’t know that the baseball team is as multicultural that as they could or should be. But man music, music, music makes the people come together as Madonna ones. Yes. Yeah. And I love love that song. I was at a co concert, a Wednesday night and your co famously married Heidi Klum. And he talked about the song prayer for the dying. And he wrote that out of love for thinking of the legacy of people and the circle of life and keeping people together. And I think to myself, music I just mentioned, country rap. Young old, I went to the Joe Biden rest stop at one o’clock in the morning in Wilmington, Delaware. Christiana, on my way back from seal. And Taylor Swift did lead out in Philadelphia, to see the rest stop at one o’clock in the morning after Taylor Swift and seeing my beleaguered parents with children. And just thinking Music Man, music, music made my parents camp out for AC DC tickets for me in 1981. To meet young people, I bet you’re meeting people that as a CFO, certainly number crunching, or just the bank that lent money to commercial lenders, I would think between Bruce Springsteen, Lizzo Earth, Wind and Fire, Janet Jackson, and you’re just meeting different people, for your bank, it’s good business for people to come together. It’s


funny you say that? Because I tell people all the time, I said, in a way, I think it’s more valuable to have the naming rights to this arena than the football stadium. Because if you think about it, and I don’t know what the numbers exactly are, but probably 50 to 70% of the people are the same people every game. Yeah, so holders. Purpose. Yeah, right. Right. They wanted to see people you look at the look at the look at the arena. And every not every but pretty much every show is bringing their own demographic. And so we’re getting exposure to a lot more people in that regard. And not not to mention the number of shows each year so and by the way that only as many shows as you’ve seen for this year. It’s gonna it’s gonna be off the charts next year, because then people will have heard about it and then there’ll be scheduling us

Nestor Aparicio  33:48

long segments about this. You’ve probably seen him I know the OIC group oak you folks have seen them before. At Ron kasi here for Baltimore magazine. Mike Rosenfeld night he went down to Austin Seven or eight months ago, and when it was on radar that you might be the bank doing this and like I started paying attention to it. I’m going to concerts either way. But the notion that this could happen so quickly, and that it’s actually happened. And I know Frank Ramesh must be just beside himself because he wanted this and wished for this. And people like me that live downtown that love music and you know I like going to Merriweather I don’t mind driving to Philly so but why do we have to do that? Why did we have that the last 40 years. The thing that makes the arena so unique unlike their USP arena up in, in Long Island, it has a hockey team. Every day it’s available in the arena, right there’s no tenant, Madison Square Garden has to hold dates for the Rangers in the next year. John Mellencamp can’t play there and they can’t get Lizzo that night and Liz wants to go to Baltimore Wooster. You know, some of the reading has to go somewhere else for to have an arena to play in. And once this first year it starts to happen in the build the base. Then we start to get downtown more built up out. And I want to leave you with this because it’s a perfect segue that you didn’t come to faith. You got a family’s crab cake or if you’ve never had one, it’s been a long time, man. They’re different. They’re different than this. But I was down at Bally’s. And we were talking about the good things in the city and things growing. And she put crab cakes out and they got cold. This is and Nancy families is coming right here in the parking lot. Right? So families is going to have their place right next to state fair. So it’s a great segue to talk about crabcakes that this has been sitting here about seven minutes now since it got broad. You would say I gotta eat it while it’s hot. And I want to end the show. We don’t even have any cutlery up here so I cannot even get after it. But we will. And but Nancy divine, the creator of the world famous faily jumbo lump back then crabmeat cupcake. She says, you never want to eat it hot. You always want to eat it at room temperature. Always it has more flavor. The flavor binds better. So she tells me this. This is back before the plague. But I had that video that millions people saw me open in a crab on Facebook. There was a summer of 19 She tells me this and I’m like okay, I mean, this is the crab cake lady telling me that my crab cakes too hot. Don’t eat it hot. And I’m like crazy old lady. You know, crazy old lady. You know, I had a crab cake. And you know, I’m a talker bill, right? I talk a lot. I had reheated a crab cake at home. And I let it get like, cold, it’ll get cold, you’re gonna get cold. They’ve seen a restaurant. And I ate it and it tasted better. And so I confirmed it. And then I had to go back tail between my legs and tell this woman with this beautiful wisdom, wisdom that letting this sit is not a bad thing because I saw you getting antsy. Like you’re pulling it toward you and yeah, it’s getting cold I’m telling you you want it cold


so so you’re reminding me of something you know why people in your drink their beer at room temperature? Because they don’t have ice? Well no for the same exact reason. It tastes you there’s more flavor in the beer when it’s at room temperature. So same concept,

Nestor Aparicio  37:09

weirdest thing about Europe other than maybe the wrong side of the road if you’re on the wrong you know your Ireland or UK or whatever. The fact that they don’t have ice, like if you go anywhere in Europe for the first time and you want to totally embarrass yourself as the ugly American tourists ask for more than one ice cube ice to them as a singular I’ve heard it is not plural. And and they drop the cube into your your your soda, and you watch the ice cube just evaporate. And then it’s warm again, because it’s 92 degrees in your room or whatever and you’re like perfect for my smells Hello. And they’re like Ugly Americans. You know, we love it. We love here though, you know, all the more


reason to drink red wine when you’re over there.

Nestor Aparicio  37:56

There you go room temperature. We Dallas here, tell everybody about your bank because I moved to the crabcakes. We’ll wrap things up down here at State Fair, and I really appreciate having everybody for being great. I mean, the crabcake tour, it comes with some side benefits. I’m not you know, I’m not gonna lie. But I am just thrilled you had a chance to come out and chat. Because I wanted I didn’t think we got it far enough in the bank. We need to do more about the bank. But like I own a business, I am in a loan. I don’t like with a big shop bank that I hate. Full, you know, can’t get out of it. I’m at a rate now that the rates are this and that. I’d love to come to you and say all right, I’m in my third deal. I’m in WNS T three point I’m 55 years old. I’m a legitimate guy who needs a bank. How do you help me? How do you help someone like me?


So I’ll give you some background first. So we’re owned privately owned by one person. Jack Dwyer. You mentioned him earlier unique? Yes. Okay, especially for a bank of our size. But he’s a tremendously successful business person, very much an entrepreneur. And it allows us to do things that other banks don’t do. We can do things faster, easier. You know, it’s hard to differentiate yourself in the banking world. What we’ve been able to do is to show people that we are very creative and entrepreneurial when we talk to somebody about a loan. And we’re very fast. And interestingly, I was telling that story at a luncheon about a month ago, and a woman interrupted me and said, a bill, excuse me, but I just want to tell the folks here that what you just said is absolutely right. Because when I we were just working with your folks about a few weeks ago when alone, and they were incredibly creative, and they were incredibly fast, and it was just the number of times I hear people say that was the best experience I’ve ever had with a bank. I want to give you all of our business because I’m

Nestor Aparicio  40:00

If I come to you, I want to hear what you can do that we can’t do. Right? So when you say get creative, what is creatives mean?


So basically, you know, a loan is more about just term and rate, there’s depending upon what type of loan it is, there might be mean, I might need to have certain covenants to protect the bank, but in the client might have a bit might be a partnership, and each of those partners might have different issues and different needs. And so sometimes you have to be a little creative to be able to make the loan that the client wants and needs, make a loan that meets our needs, but addresses all all of those issues.

Nestor Aparicio  40:44

Well, it doesn’t do anybody any good to have a bad note, right? I mean, like literally, like if they can’t pay it, and they’re gonna go upside down. And you’re, I mean, there’s no winner, there’s a winner and a bad ending, right? Yes. And then ending for one is a bad ending for both right?


And so when you’re creative, you can structure alone to address those sorts of things as well. So I’m certainly so as I mentioned earlier, we want to do commercial lending. And I’m going to come back to that in a second. We only have three branches, because let’s face it, the world is going digital, because we don’t do

Nestor Aparicio  41:14

commercial lending, you’re not taking the terms of bricks and mortar. Right? Okay, well, what we’ve done


is we’ve taken all that money that we save, because we don’t have a branch network, a big branch network, and we put it into our rates. So because of that our money market rate and our CD rates are some some of the best best rates in the country. We track that every day. And we’ve been very successful and drawing business in that way. Now, with the arena, our our clients and customers get some a certain number of benefits. In terms of discounts inside the arena. Temporary discount. Okay, this this is not in place yet. We’re

Nestor Aparicio  41:58

with you in the future, I would get 10% off my beer pray when


using the CFC debit card, of course, Okay, fair enough, right. And so so you get that you get early access to the arena, separate entrance, you don’t stand on the long line. And some other things now, what we’re going to do is we’re going to take, take those benefits, and, and then throw in some other benefits because of our position in Baltimore, and create this incredible checking product because we want to we want to expand our reach and retail deposits. And also, in conjunction with that, where we want to establish a partnership, preferably with a FinTech to be able to offer some consumer loans because we know people, you know, there is a need for that as well. And so we’re gonna basically go after retail deposits, because, you know, we want to be Baltimore’s back here growing bank,

Nestor Aparicio  42:53

you see, we aren’t growing, that vacuum that’s missing without Mercutio and provident and first national. And you the banks that I grew up with Loyola feta mean, that they were there. The Oriole broadcasts were all banks, right, and everybody had a spokesperson Rosedale federal right. So they’re just there’s there were just so many local banks. And I it’s such a tough industry, right? I mean, really, is where the big guys have really, yeah. Well, the Walmart of banking has done in Yeah, yeah. All those names I just gave you Yeah, so


so a couple of things. So the big banks control, credit cards, residential mortgages and car loans. And one of the reasons the country Yeah, that’s the vast majority of the consumer lending, right. And so the reason is, is because, you know, the government, for better or worse, they put in all these regulations to protect consumer. And so you need to create an infrastructure to be able to handle all those rules. And so who’s better at dealing with

Nestor Aparicio  43:53

the same thing, corner pharmacy, can’t handle the regulations, my friends that drug city? Talk about that, versus where CVS can have a network to handle the law? Right. I mean, that’s the biggest issue.


Yeah. Yeah. So they’re able to scale those businesses much easier than a bank our size. And so and so, you know, to my way of thinking most people, most people, they need a credit card or mortgage loan car loan, they don’t care whether they get it from their existing bank, they’re gonna go out and get the best deal they can, right. And so so we don’t even need to offer a tremendous amount of consumer lending products, just the basic ones that people can relate to it, especially in conjunction with a checking account. So that’s what we’re, we’re focused on but because we truly want to be Baltimore’s bank, you know, we want we want to be top of mind when somebody wants to change banks. Hey, I’m going to see

Nestor Aparicio  44:44

that guy. I want to change banks right now. I’m glad you’re here. So in real terms, not for me, but for someone like me, call call the bank email, what’s the best way to reach to someone if there is a business owner out there that says, Yeah, I don’t like my bank and I Okay, I was down at the concert, I saw Lizzo. And I saw the name i Whoa, you know? Because I do think you are a little bit of a mystery. I know you personally, Jack a little. I’ve been driving by the tower for 15 years. But you are a little mysterious in that way. So the more to learn. And now that you’re out in front of this, people want to know more? Yeah. How do they do it? Because they don’t just go into the branch, right? Like in the old days.


You can you go there, you’re the website, phone numbers. You can continue this, call us when we’re out and about in the community. Nice. So we run into a lot of people.

Nestor Aparicio  45:38

Well, I run into you here and again, you and I were at the mike Elias event. Yes, people wouldn’t believe see me they’re being played nice Memorial GM, giving them copies of Purple Rain and whatnot. The upswing of sports has been beautiful, too, right? I mean, your real Baltimore guy, your Lansdowne guy, born and bred here, the Oreo Raven Mojo as a true sports guy who’s done this for a living for 31 years. This is as much prosperity over the next five months where you know, you have a competitive baseball team. You think you have a pretty good football team. We had a plague. We had the oral stink for all these years, the Ravens had this, you know, problems the last year or two? This is this is a good period of hope.


Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, deep down, I feel like we’re on the upswing in Baltimore with all these things that we’ve talked about, with publishers, certainly to solve that crime problem. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  46:32

Well, and that’s at the heart of all of it. And once we do that, but the rest of its here, crab cakes are still here, the harbor still here. The infrastructure is still here. We have lizards here. Janet Jackson’s here. We are here. We


have a great city here that there’s I mean, you know, they call us a city of neighborhoods, and it’s true and every neighborhood has their own distinction. I mean, I’ve had been a mountain Mount Vernon plenty of times, but just recently I’ve gotten I’ve been spending more time there and I really appreciate the architecture that my wife does just the restaurants and it’s so every part of town has something special about it the word Kingsville

Nestor Aparicio  47:09

they have special crabcake it’s Marilyn crabcake Tour presented by our friends at the Maryland lottery, I had a Frenchman window nation, you know I’m with like a serious banker here from CFG bank so I couldn’t wear my window nation hat my my wacky floppy hat, but I’m gonna throw it on here. So I look more official 866 90 nation, the instant lottery scratch offs we’re going to be at in fallston at the local on the 23rd. That’s Tuesday to until five big appreciation for Bill we know we’re going to rinse off we’re gonna get some cutlery I might get some chopsticks. My thanks to State Fair Keith, Nate, Donnie, Evan everybody for having us out here today. We’re gonna be over to Beaumont elk walk but they got to pit beef standard out here haven’t had it yet. But I’ve had this crab cake and oh, it’s gonna be delicious. On signing off from a state fair find a friend CFG Bank Arena or at CFG bank or right on 83 or on the interwebs I’m Nestor we are wn st am 1570 Towson Baltimore signing off from Kingsville

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