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Never underestimate the underdog

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in Leaders & Managers

It’s a David and Goliath story in which David is CEO of a tiny neighborhood bank, Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co., while Goliath is Capital One.

Last year, Capital One ran a snide ­radio ad about “Old Dusty Bank” and its leader, “Mr. Burke.”

It went like this:

“This week on breaking up with your bank, Susan says goodbye to an old flame and finds her relationship with Capital One Bank a little bit more rewarding.”

Male voice: “Welcome to Old Dusty Bank. How may I help you?”

Susan: “Mr. Burke, we need to talk. It’s just not working out.”

Susan dumps Mr. Burke, which happens to be the name of Hunt Burke, CEO of Burke & Herbert, an exceedingly traditional bank that’s been in his family since 1852 and didn’t have a single computer until the late 1970s, well past the advent of automated teller machines.

Burke says he’s flattered by all the attention. His customers rallied in his defense.

All Capital One would say is that “Mr. Burke” is the name of its creative director.

You know what happened with David and Goliath.

Between the two Virginia-based banks, Burke & Herbert increased its Washington-area deposits by $222 million last year while Capital One’s deposits dropped by $738 million in the same region. The little bank also hired away nine Capital One executives.

— Adapted from “Readers to CapOne: Don’t mess with Burke,” Melissa Castro, Washington Business Journal.

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