Republic First hold-ups capital raise as activist group accelerates difficulty

Former TD Bank CEO Greg Braca states a financier group he co-leads strategies to enhance strategies to take control of Philadelphia-based Republic First Bancorp.

An financier group looking for to win control of Philadelphia-based Republic First Bancorp stated it means to push forward with a proxy contest and an associated legal difficulty to the business’s relocation in November to diminish its board to 6 directors from the previous 8. 

The group, led by New Jersey insurance coverage executive George Norcross and previous TD Bank CEO Greg Braca, stated Braca would look for a board seat at Republic First’s long-delayed yearly conference. The $6.2 billion-asset business has actually been swallowed up in debate for well over a year as various groups have actually defended control. The dispute has actually caused long hold-ups in the filing of needed monetary reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, while the 2022 yearly conference has yet to be held. 

Founder and Chairman Harry Madonna, in addition to 3 allied directors “mismanaged Republic First for years,” Braca stated Monday in a declaration. “Shareholders are now paying the price for their recklessness and unwillingness to simply do what is right, give up control and get out of the way.”

Braca likewise slammed Republic First’s choice to wait on more beneficial market conditions prior to finishing a proposed $125 million capital raise. “Recent inaction and failure to raise badly needed capital only proves to us that these four legacy directors care more about their personal interests than they do about Republic First and its future,” Braca stated. 

The organized capital raise consists of dedications of $60.725 million by the popular bank financial investment company Castle Creek Capital in addition to $30 million by an affiliate of Cohen Private Investors. The staying $34.275 million is to come from financiers recognized by Republic First. It’s that procedure of lining up financiers that Republic First chose to put on hold. 

“We remain focused on taking actions to preserve the bank’s capital, strengthen our core business and position us to identify additional investor commitments at the right time and on the right terms,” Republic First CEO Thomas Geisel stated Monday in a declaration.

According to Republic First, the board spoken with outdoors legal and monetary consultants prior to Monday’s statement, concluding the bank has sufficient capital. 

Bank stocks have actually taken an extreme whipping in current months as a domino effect of occasions set off at first by the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange company FTX stimulated issues about crypto-related properties and deposits. Then, broader concerns about uninsured deposits in basic followed. The fallout caused the pricey failures of 3 banks: Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California; Signature Bank in New York; and First Republic Bank in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the KBW Bank Index, which had actually reached a high of 115.10 in early February, fell 1.4% to $73.43 Tuesday.

Tony Scavuzzo, a Castle Creek handling principal, decreased remark Monday. 

In an e-mail Tuesday to American Banker, Republic First included that it has actually made duplicated efforts to recover the breach with the Norcross-Braca group, consisting of a deal to include Braca to the board and supply what it referred to as “seven-figure expense reimbursement.” Given these proffers, Republic First identified Braca’s declarations Monday as “old news” and “repetitive.”

Earlier this month, Geisel, who was called CEO in December, revealed strategies to stopped coming from home loans and improve industrial loaning in New York. Those moves came days after the business launched monetary outcomes for the very first quarter. Republic First reported a $9.7 million loss, driven in part by $5.5 million invested in legal, audit and other expert charges. The May 1 revenues release marked the very first time given that January 2022 that Republic First reported on its financial resources. 

Initially, the Norcross-Braca group, which manages 9.9% of Republic First’s impressive shares, shared a typical function with the Madonna-led board faction in opposing previous Chairman and CEO Vernon Hill. Following Hill’s ouster as chairman in May 2022  and subsequent resignation as CEO in July, their interests diverged significantly. The Norcross-Braca group looked for to set up Braca as CEO and later on provided a $100 million equity injection, just to see both tenders turned down. 


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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