Magazine article American Banker

St. Paul Insider Sales Rise amid Buybacks, Rumors

Magazine article American Banker

St. Paul Insider Sales Rise amid Buybacks, Rumors

Article excerpt

As takeover rumors and a stock buyback program drive up share values, insider trading at St. Paul Bancorp has accelerated.

Between Aug. 2 and Oct. 31, executives at the Chicago-based savings bank sold a total of 123,794 shares in option-related sales at prices between $23.75 and $26.38 per share.

The company announced its most recent stock buyback program on July 16, according to Securities Data Co. When the program was announced, shares were selling at $22.25.

Since then St. Paul stock has soared 24%, outperforming the Nasdaq bank index, which has risen by 20%.

St. Paul had dropped 15% in value from Jan. 1 to July 16, while the bank index, which covers mainly small banks, increased 3%.

To Robert Gabele, president of CDA/Investnet, a company that tracks insider trading activity, the insider sales are in keeping with recent reports of insider selling at larger banks where buybacks have driven up share prices.

"This is something we've been seeing in the large banks and now it's spreading to small ones," said Mr. Gabele, who has criticized such insider selling as contrary to the spirit of share buybacks.

The largest insider sale at $4.1 billion-asset St. Paul was by Joseph C. Scully, chairman and chief executive officer, who exercised options to sell 30,000 shares between Aug. 2 and 5 worth a total of $720,000. He has 90,853 shares left, according to the Washington Service.

Other St. Paul executives who recently exercised their options and sold stock include president Patrick J. …

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