Fairfax, Virginia
May 1999

A Successful Arab-American Banker – Walid Maalouf

Walid Maalouf is one of four children born to Wadih and Marie Maalouf. Born in Beirut, Mr. Maalouf attended elementary school at the French Lyce in Beirut and continued his studies at the Center Pigier school up until moving to the United States in 1979 to pursue his college education.

Mr. Maalouf has never forgotten his roots. "I love the land and the people; they are warm and hospitable. I was so sad and shocked when the regional war disrupted the warmth and hospitality of a diverse people that have coexisted for generations in Lebanon." Wadih Maalouf had a grocery business in Beirut and Walid's mother was a seamstress. They both worked very hard and raised their family with high hopes, love and respect for others. "I learned a lot from my father. He did not tell me what to do. He simply did it," said Maalouf in an interview with Al-Nashra.

Walid Maalouf graduated with honors from Sacred Heart College with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing. He is a member of the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives, the International Society of Friendship and Good Will, the International Honor Society in Social Science and the Catholic Task Force of the Republican National Committee. Because of his activism and evolvement in the community, Walid has been asked to chair several community conventions and has been interviewed by and written for numerous magazines and newspapers. In the summer of 1998, he was honored with the Patriarchal Golden Cross of Jerusalem for the many contributions and support he gives to his community in the United States and Lebanon. The Golden Cross was bestowed on Walid by H.B. Maxims V Hakim, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, and all the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem.

Maalouf started his banking career in Beirut in 1975 at “Banque National de Paris”. In 1989 he began working for First American Bank in Washington and within 9 months he was promoted to management. In 1993, First Union Bank took over First American and he was laid off. Two weeks later, he was offered a branch manager position with Signet Bank. "I truly enjoyed working for Signet. The level of professionalism and support gave my banking career a boost. I brought in so much business that eight months later I was offered an assistant vice president position in the main office in Washington DC." said Maalouf. At Signet, Maalouf started the Embassy Banking Group. He took this market by storm and the market responded beautifully. Signet Bank became known in this market within three months and the "Embassy" initiatives got Maalouf’s competitors on their toes. He enjoyed that race and soon became known in the embassy market as "Mr. Signet."

In December 1997, Signet Bank was acquired by First Union, and in January 1998 Mr. Maalouf was named vice president at Franklin National Bank. On February 26 1999, Franklin merged with Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T), a banking corporation with presence in the south and southeast, and 500 branch offices. "BB&T made me an offer to stay and grow with my embassy banking portfolio.”We have just completed a mailing of our newly developed embassy brochure to the diplomatic community, and there are several programs underway to make banking easy and convenient for all our customers." Maalouf said about his marketing efforts. When asked about the future of banking, he said, "banking has changed tremendously. I think one day there will be no branches. The future is check cards, credit cards, ATMs and banking on the super highway. I think in the near future we will call it Net Banking." Whether he recommends banking career to young generations, Maalouf said, "If you are a college graduate who likes sales and is looking for a challenge, I recommend this industry. If you don’t like sales, don't touch it. Reasons for my survival throughout these mergers are my determination, my consistency and my reputation. My goal is to make the economic life of my clients better and put their finances to work for them.”