John Marshall Bank is setting its sights on Alexandria and has hired long-time Burke & Herbert executive Charles Collum to lead the way.

Collum, who retired as chairman of Alexandria-based Burke & Herbert two years ago, is to help the Reston-based bank open its first retail outpost in Alexandria in coming months.

John Marshall “is a good deal smaller than Burke & Herbert,” said Collum, whose new role as an executive officer was announced last week. “But I helped grow Burke and Herbert into a $2 billion bank, and I felt I could help John Marshall grow, too.”

John Marshall, based in Reston, has grown more than four-fold since 2008, thanks to similar expansions into Rockville and Leesburg. The bank currently has assets of $484 million.

“We don’t sit around and say, ‘Oh, we want to be in a certain location,’” said Bill Ridenour, president of John Marshall Bank. “If we can find a banker in a certain community who has a lot of experience and network contacts, then we’ll strategically expand into that area. It gets us to profits much quicker.”

The bank would not disclose whether Collum had signed a non-compete agreement that would prevent him from soliciting customers from Burke & Herbert for a period of time.

Northern Virginia has emerged from the economic downturn largely unscathed, with lower unemployment numbers and foreclosure rates than much of the country, making it a particularly desirable market for banks, according to Bert Ely, a local banking expert who lives in Alexandria and once served on a Burke & Herbert advisory board.

“It may be easy for people to think this is a binary banking world of Burke & Herbert vs. John Marshall, but it’s anything but,” Ely said. “Northern Virginia is very competitive — not just because of community banks, but also large banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America and SunTrust.”

The announcements of Collum’s hiring comes after a spate of community bank mergers in Virginia.

In March, First Community Bank in Bluefield acquired Richmond’s Peoples Bank of Virginia for $40.6 million. A few months later, First Virginia Community Bank in Fairfax bought Arlington’s 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia in a deal valued at $3.7 million.

Collum has spent his entire career in Alexandria: first at the now-defunct Alexandria National Bank, and later at Burke and Herbert, where he worked for 41 years.

“Charlie Collum is certainly very well-known, not just in Alexandria but throughout Northern Virginia,” Ely said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.”