Brunswick Bancorp, New Brunswick, NJ (BRBW)

A Case of Appeal to Family Interest


There's no indication that the scoundrels at Brunswick Bancorp care about their shareholders, but maybe we can appeal to their greed.

Given that Chairman and CEO Roman Gumina owns 27%, his mother 5.5%, and other Guminas 4.2% or more, the family has two great options for making out good without further shareholder shake down:
  1. Were the Guminas to sell the bank outright, they would increase the value of their own holdings by $10M. Outside investors would score a similar amount.
  2. Alternatively, the Gumina family could use a quarter of the bank's excess capital to buy stock back from those of us who want out, make Brunswick Bank & Trust even more of a family operation, and still increase the value of their holdings by $10M.
In any event, if you don't own BRBW, consider yourself lucky! Even at 58% of book value, the stock only "looks" cheap.

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


Prospective Buyers

The $88M in deposits in Brunswick's Livingston Ave branch might be appealing to area institutions, but I doubt any buyer would be interested in the 5 out of 6 other branches struggling to manage less than $10M each.

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

Financial Snapshot
as of 12/31/2016
Total assets:
$180M
Tangible book value per share:
$12.14
NPAs to assets:
6.5%
Price to book:
59%
Market cap:
$21.7M
Dividend yield:
0%
Trailing 12-month return on assets:
0.38%
Trailing 12-month return on equity:
1.85%

Scoundrels

Roman Gumina, Chairman and CEO
Nicholas A. Frungillo, Jr., President
Louis Foulke, CFO, Secretary and Treasurer

Red Flags

Ask around and you'll hear all sorts of unsettling rumors about the Gumina family — real gangster stuff, complete with death threats and people suddenly going "dark" after daring to voice their concerns. In the interest of self-preservation, I'll step around all that here.

Performance at Brunswick Bank & Trust hasn't improved in decades. In 1989, under the-now-deceased Carmen Gumina's watch, the bank earned $1.1M. It hasn't come close since. NPAs were 10% as recently as Year End 2012, and are still high at 6.5%.

Meanwhile, current Chairman and CEO Roman Gumina has been "rewarding" himself pretty handsomely:
  • Over the past seven years, Brunswick Bancorp has suffered a cumulative loss of $501K while Roman skimmed off $2,266,000.
  • In 2010, the bank lost $1.2M and NPAs reached 12%, but that didn't stop Roman from taking a $96K bonus on top of his $310K base pay.
  • Even as the bank started reporting income — net of $283K, $406K, and $677K in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively — Roman's $310K a year salary is beyond what you'd call "commensurate with performance." 
  • In spite of his high compensation and the bank's screaming need for stronger management, Gumina doesn't appear to consider his responsibilities or pay grade worthy of full-time attention.

10 Other Entities in which Roman Gumina Owns a Controlling Interest 
  1. Aaron Road Associates
  2. Cardal Associates
  3. Cranbury Station LLC
  4. Applegarth Associates
  5. Carmine Investments
  6. Brunswick Management LLC
  7. Englishtown Realty LLC
  8. Mullica Hill Management
  9. Mantec Associates
  10. Franklinville Plaza Management Associates LLC

Sources

6 comments :

  1. There was a activist shareholder back in 2015 but they no longer own the shares. wow!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Yuanxi!

      Thanks for your comment. Always nice to hear from you. I tried to reach Andrew Berger at AB Value in Westfield for the article. He did not return my calls. Since he didn't file a 13-D (BRBW de-registered with the SEC in 2007, so it wasn't required) I could not figure out if AB Value still owned their shares or not. Obviously, with the Gumina's owning so many BRBW shares, a proxy fight or vote withhold approach would never work here.

      Delete
    2. My apologies, too, Yuanxi! I meant to reply to another comment of yours re AmeriServ (ASRV), and instead somehow deleted it...

      You wrote: "I had the impression that each quarter the bank has some noisy items that reduces its earnings from what it should be. I imagined a billion-dollar bank should have a fairly stable/predictable earning history. My other concern is that the efficiency ratio doesn't really fall while its assets are growing."

      You are correct. There do always seem to be one-time charges muddling up the earnings picture. As to AmeriServ's efficiency ratio, I would argue that while it is absolutely too high and needs to come down, on balance there does seem to be slight improvement. The ratio from 2012 thru 2016 goes: 86.18%, 87.84%, 88.26%, 82.54%, 84.98%, so while 2016 was disappointingly above last year's, it was below 2012, 2013 and 2014. Let's hope they can get it into the high 70's!

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  2. with Such Owners/History/NPA/money laundering rumors in the past 59% BV is much too high. But at least yu know what you are getting into (Not sure about those who bought it follow the article and increased the price like some great news were disclosed

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and commenting iota! Yes, it is always better to know just what you are getting in to, when you can...

      Delete
  3. This is a clue where valuations are. Ameriserv & Brunswick Bancorp...uggghhh

    ReplyDelete