Magazine article American Banker

Thrift Shareholder Pushing for Merger with His Bank

Magazine article American Banker

Thrift Shareholder Pushing for Merger with His Bank

Article excerpt

A battle between North Bancshares - the holding company for a small Chicago thrift - and a pesky banker-shareholder escalated at the thrift's annual meeting last week.

But the meeting ended without a vote on the shareholder's proposal for a merger, or any other clear resolution of the dispute.

Saul D. Binder, president of $251 million-asset Success National Bank, Lincolnwood, Ill., continues to seek a meeting with North Bancshares' management about merging the two companies.

But North Bancshares executives continue to rebuff his overtures. Joseph A. Graber, president of North, which owns North Federal Savings Bank, said that the company would consider "valid" offers - but he doesn't put Mr. Binder's bid in that category.

"He's got nothing to offer us, nothing to offer our shareholders," Mr. Graber said.

While shareholder activism has become more commonplace at community banks and thrifts in recent years, it is rare when it comes from a banker interested in merger options.

At the shareholder meeting last week, Mr. Binder tried to raise several questions about $114 million-asset North's performance and management. Mr. Binder said he did not get the answers he sought, and has since written management and shareholders saying that he's not through asking questions.

"We will keep watching them," he said in an interview. "We will be in constant communication. We think there are things to be done."

Mr. Binder began acquiring North Bankshares stock after the thrift refused to discuss merging with his institution. …

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