Access National Bank's goal to boost its wealth management business is an example of how the importance of scale often creeps up.

The bank, in Reston, Va., started its Access Capital Management unit in 2011 and has $523 million in assets under management today. In an interview Monday, Michael Clarke, Access' president and chief executive, said he would like to triple the amount of assets under management over the next five years. Currently, the wealth management business is boosting fees, but so far there has been no benefit to the bottom line.

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