Investor presses Republic First in Philadelphia to discover purchaser

The activist financier Driver Management has actually pursued proxy contests at 2 neighborhood banks this year in an effort to require the banks to offer. Now, Driver has actually set its sights on a 3rd: Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia.

Citing issues about Republic First’s organization design, in addition to prepare for a stock using it stated would water down the worth of existing shares, New York-based Driver stated it prepares to choose 3 prospects to serve on the Philadelphia bank’s board.

Vernon Hill, who ran Commerce Bancorp up until it was offered to TD Bank in 2008, is Republic First’s Chairman and CEO.


Under the management of Chairman and CEO Vernon Hill, Republic First and its bank subsidiary, Republic Bank, have actually shown exceptional at collecting deposits. At the exact same time, the $5.4 billion-asset business has actually had a hard time to produce loans.

Hill, who acquired popularity for structure Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp into a retail powerhouse prior to its sale to TD Bank in 2008, “has done a good job building a deposit-gathering mechanism, but if you’re not going to do anything on the asset side, what’s the point?” Driver stated Thursday.

Republic First reported overall deposits of $5 billion on Sept. 30. Exclusive of the Paycheck Protection Program, loans amounted to simply under $2.3 billion, which exercises to a loan-to-deposit ratio of 45.2%. The market average for banks with $1 billion to $10 billion of possessions is 73.44% according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. information.

Abbott Cooper, creator and handling member of Driver, stated his instant objective is to obstruct Republic First’s strategies to undertake what Hill has actually referred to as a “small” equity raise. Hill revealed his objective to pursue a stock sale on Oct. 28, throughout a teleconference with experts to go over third-quarter outcomes. First Republic has actually not offered brand-new information ever since, however Cooper stated any stock sale need to run out the concern offered the truth the business’s shares presently trade at about 65% of their concrete book worth.

Longer term, Republic First’s “best outcome” is a sale, Cooper stated. “There are some really great asset-generating businesses out there. You kind of fit them together with [Republic First] and it could be a home run.”

Cooper stated Driver prepares to choose Peter Barthalow, a previous chief monetary officer at Dallas-based Texas Capital Bancshares, Pamela Bundy, a popular Washington, D.C.-area designer, and Richard Sinkfield, a lawyer who works as primary legal and compliance officer at Laureate Education in Baltimore.

A Republic First representative did not instantly return a press reporter’s call. In a news release Thursday, Republic First stated it had “attempted to engage with Driver,” looking for to set up interviews with its 3 board prospects however included that it balked at conditions Driver set for a conference, consisting of Hill’s elimination as chairman and repayment of the “out-of-pocket costs” linked to its financial investment in Republic First.

Driver’s pending proxy contest with Republic First begins the heels of comparable efforts to require the $2.3 billion-asset Codorus Valley Bancorp in York, Pennsylvania, and the $1.7 billion-asset First United Corp. in Oakland, Maryland, to offer themselves.

Codorus Valley’s long time chairman and CEO, Larry Miller, revealed strategies to retire soon after Driver stated in August that it prepared to choose a prospect to its board of directors. While Driver had actually advised Codorus to change Miller, Cooper stated he would still like to see the business offered, so it anticipates to continue the proxy fight. “We’re pushing forward,” Cooper stated.

Driver stopped working in its quote to manage the sale of First United. The bank concurred in April to purchase out Driver’s ownership stake for $6.5 million.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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