A Germantown bank building, in operation since the 1920s until earlier this year, found a new lease on life this month as a commuters station at the Germantown stop of the B&O rail line between Harper's Ferry and Union Station.

Suburban Bank, owners of the building since 1960, donated the 4,000-square-foot building that formerly housed its Germantown office to Montgomery County for use by the Department of Transportation.

In a ceremony tomorrow at the bank building, Suburban Bank Chairman Robert F. Tardio will present the key to the building to County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist.

The deed to the property was transferred earlier this month.

The structure was built in 1922 to house the Germantown Bank. Suburban has owned the structure since 1960 following its acquisition of the Maryland State Bank of Montgomery County, a bank resulting from the merger of Germantown Bank with First National Bank of Gaithersburg.

The brick building, at Mateney Road and Rte. 118, served as Suburban's Germantown office from 1960 until April, when Suburban opened a new Germantown office at 19700 Germantown Rd.

The railroad's former Germantown station across from the bank building was lost to fire in 1978. The county owns the 100-space parking area around the building.

John Clark, director of transportation planning for the county, said the county was pleased to receive the structure, which will help encourage use of the rail line by a growing Germantown-area population.

The rail line also carries Amtrak passengers to points west.

The county is working on plans for additional uses of the building, he said.

Clark said the area surrounding the station was Germantown's central hub of business and activity in the late 1800s. At a general store once located there, local workers would pay 15 cents to cash their paychecks.

Increasingly unhappy with the store's then exhorbitant check-cashing charge, the workers established the Germantown Bank.