Chain Bridge Bank’s single location is next to a wine store and a café on the ground floor of a luxury condo building in suburban McLean, Va., about a half-hour outside downtown Washington. It looks like any small-town bank. Tellers keep bowls of candy at their windows, and staff members talk to customers about no-fee checking accounts. But right now, Chain Bridge, which has about 40 employees, is responsible for more of the hundreds of millions of dollars flooding into the 2016 presidential race than any other bank in the country. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Chain Bridge is the sole bank serving Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, which reported raising $11.4 million as of June 30, and his allied super-PAC, Right to Rise, which says it’s raised $103 million so far. Donald Trump’s campaign banks at Chain Bridge, and it’s listed as the primary financial institution for the campaigns of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Texas Governor Rick Perry. It’s also the only bank used by super-PACs supporting neurosurgeon and author Ben Carson, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, all Republicans.
Founded in 2007, Chain Bridge served John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s in 2012. House Speaker John Boehner keeps fundraising accounts there; so does the Republican National Committee. It’s also served political action committees for Altria Group, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. “The largest issue that we would always have with people is that they’d be like, ‘Why would we use this Podunk little bank in McLean, Virginia?’ ” says Bradley Crate, Romney’s 2012 chief financial officer. He routinely refers clients of his consulting firm Red Curve Solutions to the bank, including both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Trump. Chain Bridge offers services tailored to the idiosyncrasies of campaigns, which deposit and then spend enormous sums quickly, with no credit history to lean on. “I know I can call my contacts at Chain Bridge Bank and have an account open in like 15 minutes,” Crate says. “If you go to a much larger bank, you have a bureaucracy you have to deal with.”
Full Article: Where Candidates Stash Their Cash – Bloomberg Politics.