The Bank Slate


Two investor groups back new directors at Republic First

An investor group looking to oust Vernon Hill as CEO of Republic First Bancorp is backing another shareholder’s effort to have three directors added to the Philadelphia company’s board.

George Norcross III, Gregory Braca and Philip Norcross said in a regulatory filing that they intend to support the nominees submitted by Driver Management. They also plan to oppose the $5.4 billion-asset Republic First’s nominees, including Hill. 

Hill is also the company’s chairman. 

The Norcross-Braca group, which recently increased its stake in Republic First to 9.6%, said it has not communicated with Driver and it has no plans to act in concert with the other investor. 

Republic First’s board responded to the developments, stating in a Friday press release that it hired Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to advise it on any shareholder proposals. KBW will respond directly to the shareholders.

The board “continues to review the filings … carefully and objectively,” the release said, adding that the board “remains open to any and all proposals to maximize shareholder value.”
The Norcross-Braca group wants Braca to replace Hill as CEO. It also wants the company to use its abundance of deposits to make more commercial loans in New York and Philadelphia. 

Driver, which has a roughly 1.2% stake in Republic First, said in December that it would nominate three people to stand for election to the company’s board, including Peter Bartholow, a former chief financial offer at Texas Capital Bancshares.

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