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Richard Phoebus retires: What he did for the area

March 13, 2001

Richard Phoebus retires: What he did for the area



The impending departure of Richard Phoebus from the post he's held at Home Federal Savings Bank for the past 20 years will not only leave a void in the banking industry here, but in the community as well. We can only hope he's successful in his quest to head up an as-yet-unnamed, non-profit organization here.

The 62-year-old Phoebus came to Hagerstown in 1981 after a variety of posts in the banking industry, including CEO of Liberty Savings & Loan of Warrenton, Va.

During his time here, Phoebus not only shepherded the bank through difficult financial times in the early 1990s, but also approved a number of innovations that saw Home Federal become the first local bank to open a branch in a supermarket and the first to offer some Sunday hours.

His community activities include service on the boards of the Washington County Health System, the Washington County Airport Commission, the University of Maryland Foundation, the Frostburg State University Board of Visitors, the Greater Hagerstown Committee and the Hagerstown Neighborhood Housing Services.

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That last group involves a consortium of local banks working to give Hagerstown residents who've always rented a dwelling a chance to own their own homes.

But the measure of the man might have been his willingness to spend a couple of years heading up the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's task force to get a new minor league stadium built locally.

From the start, this project was guaranteed to be controversial. But Phoebus took it on because he believes, as we do, that minor league baseball is an important amenity for this area's citizens. Sadly, Phoebus declared the effort dead last November, after elected officials failed to deliver their support.

Let's hope it's the last such disappointment he faces as his career takes a new turn, and that the local non-profit that he wants to lead is wise enough to take advantage of his talents.

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