New Peoples Bankshares, New Honaker, VA (NWPP)

A Case of Being in People's Hands


As a shareholder, I am in the hands of New Peoples Bank.

More accurately, my investment is in the hands of the people behind New Peoples, as are the investments of 4428 other people.

For myself, and on behalf of these other shareholders, I am grateful to the handful of local business people who put up their own money to turn New Peoples around since 2011, and for the modest performance improvements they had a hand in effecting.

Nonetheless, seven years later, New Peoples Bank is not profitable. It’s time for a handoff.

If the three controlling shareholders play their own hands right, they can garner as much as $3.00 per share in a sale for all of us. If they don’t, we’re all left empty-handed.


Disclosure: As of this posting, I own shares of NWPP and may subsequently either dispose of them or purchase more.


Prospective Buyers

Could one of these local players lend a hand? You'll enhance your own franchise by buying New Peoples Bank and cutting its bloated expenses!

Carter Bank & Trust, Martinsville, VA (CARE)
National Bankshares, Blacksburg, VA (NKSH)
Summit Financial Group, Moorefield, WV (SMMF)

Financial Snapshot
as of 06/30/2018

Total assets:
$685M
Tangible book value per share:   
$2.09
NPAs to assets:
1.9%
Price to book:
91.8%
Market cap:
$45.9M
Dividend yield:
0%
Trailing 12-month ROA:
0.06%
Trailing 12-month ROE:
0.86%

The Crew

Harold Lynn Keane, Chairman
Christopher "Todd" Asbury, President and CEO
John J Boczar, Executive VP, CFO, Treasurer and Secretary

The Skinny

In his last shareholder letter, New Peoples' CEO Todd Asbury professed to be on a path of accelerating the bank from Good to Great.

The problem is: New Peoples' bottomline performance is not even Good, and it's on a path in the opposite direction of Great.

New Peoples Bank reported modest profits in 2013 - 2017, but the bank lost money in two of the past three quarters.

Moreover, Asbury has made clear, shareholders should expect no dividends until New Peoples' recovers the $10.8M in remaining losses accumulated since the bank's inception 17 years ago.

The only person I  can see being able to force a hand on behalf of fellow NWPP shareholders is Richard Preservati. 

Besides having a great name that in and of itself suggests an interest in preserving capital, Richard Preservati owns 12.7% of NWPP stock, is a successful businessman, and knows first hand from other investments what a fair return on a community bank stock looks like.

Two years prior to investing in New Peoples, Preservati bought a significant stake in First Community Bancshares (FCBC), which has handed him a more than fair 1.2% return on assets.

For his sake, my sake, and the sake of the 4427 other shareholders of NWPP, I'm hoping Preservati will lend a hand here.


Sources

UPDATE: Brunswick Bancorp, Brunswick, NJ (BRBW)

Four hundred and fifty five days after my April 2017 Review of Brunswick Bancorp, head scoundrel Roman Gumina met his Maker.

In death there is hope! If Roman's successor Uncle Frank Junior can right side the bank's expenses, it's entirely plausible we could see a resurrection of BRBW share price to $14. Were Uncle Frankie to sell the bank, Brunswick stock could conceivably garner the same.

Question is, how much of Roman Gumina's greed is embodied in the bank's operational design and family management DNA? In his wake, is BRBW a bargain buy or a pile of dead money?


Disclosure: As of this posting, I own shares of BRBW and may subsequently either dispose of them or purchase more.


Prospective Buyers

Still true today: The $95M of deposits in Brunswick's Livingston Ave branch headquarters might be appealing to area institutions, but I doubt any buyer would be interested in the 4 out of 7 other branches struggling to manage less than $9M each.

Amboy Bancorp, Old Bridge, NJ (private)
Magyar Bancorp, New Brunswick, NJ (MGYR)
Provident Financial Services, Iselin, NJ (PFS)

Financial Snapshot
as of 06/30/2018

Total assets:
$187M
Tangible book value per share:     
$12.50
NPAs to assets:
4.6%
Price to book:
70%
Market cap:
$26.5M
Dividend yield:
0%
Trailing 12-month ROA:
0.3%
Trailing 12-month ROE:
1.7%

Scoundrels

Frank Gumina, Jr, Interim Chairman
Nicholas A. Frungillo, Jr, President and CEO
Frank J. Gumina III, Esq, Vice President, Bank Counsel

Red Flag

My concerns about Brunswick Bank & Trust are essentially unchanged since my April 2017 review.
  1. The bank's expenses are way out of line with industry norms or anything justifiable (see table below).
  2. Roman Gumina owned at least 10 unrelated entities, and money is still flowing from the bank to some of them.
  3. More than half the bank's branches are too small to be profitable, and should be closed.
  4. NPA's are 4x current industry average.
Here's what I'd love to see Management do (and, what fiscal responsibility requires):
  • Cut Occupancy and Other Expenses in half! That alone should add $450K to pre-tax earnings and produce triple last quarter’s earnings.
  • Cut the asking price of REO low enough to sell it, then put the proceeds into earning assets. That could add another $160K to the pre-tax income.
  • Don't spend the late Gumina’s $310,000/year salary on anyone or anything new. That's cash straight to the bottom line.
  • Do these three things, and watch earnings rise six-fold!
How Brunswick Bank's expenses compare to peers'.

Brunswick Bank & Trust Expenses are more than double what they should be!


not including rent charged for Bank use of Gumina properties
a Timyan Bank Alert favorite in NJ
in the two quarters prior to close of merger with SB One Bancorp (SBBX)

Sources

  • Confidential interviews with shareholders and analysts

United Bancorporation of Alabama, Atmore, AL (UBAB)

A Case of United Banking in Opportunity Zones


Remarkably, even in this political climate, politicians have crossed party lines to arm financial institutions with new tools for developing America's most distressed communities.  

United Bank of Atmore, Alabama is putting some of these tools to good work!

What's the opportunity here for investors? They could nearly double their money in three years. I see UBAB earning over $3 per share, having book value over $23 per share, and trading in the $30's.


Disclosure: As of this posting, I own shares of UBAB and may subsequently either dispose of them or purchase more.


Prospective Buyers

Non-interest bearing deposits spell opportunity for any enterprising bank. 43% of United Bank's deposits fall in this category and are free to lend in the community.

First Bancshares, Hattiesburg, MS (FBMS)
Home BancShares, Conway, AR (HOMB)
Trustmark, Jackson, MS (TRMK)

Financial Snapshot
as of 03/31/2018

Total assets:
$608M
Tangible book value per share:   
$15.65
NPAs to assets:
1.0%
Price to book:
113%
Market cap:
$43.3M
Dividend yield:
0.8%
Trailing 12-month ROA:
0.7%
Trailing 12-month ROE:
10.9%
TARP:
$0*

*Redeemed $10.3M 11/2016

The Crew

David D Swift, Sr, Chairman
Robert R Jones III, President and CEO
Gwendolyn Bailey Braden, Executive VP and COO

The Skinny

United Bank is lending in communities desperately in need of capital:
  • Five of United Bank's 18 branches (28%) are located in Opportunity Zones (see map).

United Bank uses a variety of contemporary tools for getting capital in the hands of area developers, entrepreneurs, and job creators:

United Bank may be in some economically distressed areas, but it is performing great!
  • The bank has #1 market share of deposits in 6 of the 15 towns where it has branches.
  • UBAB has paid uninterrupted dividends since 1983.
  • UBAB’s ROA and ROE are on a par with those of other banks in the country.

Sources