The community banking team at American Banker meets this time each year to identify five executives we think will emerge as newsmakers in the year ahead.
We also like to look back on our bankers to watch from a year ago to see if they made news, and the 2019 crop did not disappoint.
James McLemore found a buyer two years after taking the helm at MidSouth Bancorp, while Christopher Myers announced plans to retire as the chief executive of CVB Financial. John Asbury overhauled the branding for what had been Union Bankshares.
George Gleason continued to assure nervous investors that sound underwriting for commercial real estate loans would help Bank OZK weather the next economic downturn, and James Blake made progress in his efforts to accelerate HarborOne Bancorp’s transformation to a commercial bank.
What follows is a detailed recap of each of their stories. Stay tuned for the 2020 list, and profiles of each banker on it, over the coming week.
Bank OZK wins back investors
Gleason and Bank OZK made last year’s list after reporting abysmal third-quarter 2018 results that included a spike in CRE-related charge-offs, leading to a plunge in the $23.4 billion-asset company’s stock price.
The Little Rock, Ark., company recovered the following quarter, reporting a considerable decline in charge-offs.
During the second half of 2019, concerns shifted from the underlying quality of the bank’s CRE book to its ability to offset a surge in prepayments tied to declining…