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Robert Trigaux

Pick your pain: Banker leaps from one struggling area bank to another as CEO



AnthonyleoceooldharborbankcwaterWake up and good morning. I've heard of jumping from the frying pan into the fire, but why would a bank CEO at one gasping area bank leap to another struggling institution?

Anthony Leo was named CEO of Clearwater's Old Harbor Bank and its previous chief, William Short, will remain president. Here's the June 17 release on that appointment. Previously, Leo was CEO for less than a year of ailing Peninsula Bank based in Sarasota. Here's more on Leo's resignation from Peninsula.

Here's the rub. According to the latest figures from Bauer Financial, which rates the health of banks, both banks are in dire health.

Peninsula Bank is rated a "zero" bank and so is Old Harbor, making them two of the 51 zero or weakest-rated banks in the state of Florida. Leo was not at $630-million-asset Peninsula long enough to make much of a dent in its woes, and -- my opinion -- may have simply read the tea leaves that there's not a lot he can do. But what does he see at the smaller but troubled, $243-million-asset Old Harbor Bank?

Old Harbor apparently has a revival plan. It plans to raise $25 million in new capital. The trick, of course, in such economic times is to find investors willing to put their money in an institution already in pain. For reasons that continue to elude me, too many banks wait way too long to fix their problems. Then the FDIC comes calling. Go figure.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 11:00am]


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