During the summer of 1998, Bob Aston and his partners, all bankers, spent many days discussing their plans to start a bank in the south-eastern region of Virginia, USA. Deregulation was transforming the banking industry. In Virginia, mergers and acquisitions in the industry had led to the emergence of large banks that had headquarters in other states. Aston felt that banking as he knew it was disappearing. However, before they could start a bank, Aston and partners faced many questions and decisions: How would they raise the capital? Who would the bank serve? How would they compete with the larger banks that had emerged due to the deregulation? The decisions they made at the founding had a lasting imprint on TowneBank. This became evident a decade later as financial institutions around the country experienced a severe crisis that was sparked by exposure to risky mortgages, while TowneBank remained relatively unscathed. However, the management team had to consider several issues as the crisis unfolded. Should they accept the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds that the U.S. Treasury had offered to even banks that were unlikely to fail and were adequately capitalized? How could they ensure TowneBank’s growth? Should they acquire distressed banks in the local market?