UPDATE: Peoples Financial Corp, Biloxi, MS (PFBX)

I no longer have reservations about calling management of The Peoples Bank "scoundrels." 

When I reviewed Peoples Financial Corp back in 2015, Chairman and CEO Chevis Swetman had some handy excuses — Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill. But what's the excuse for being a bloated, non-performing bank to this day?

Clearly, Swetman's not going to do the work it takes to turn The Peoples Bank around. The only folks sweating in this scenario are shareholders. And the only way out of this hot mess is for Swetman to do the right thing and sell this bank.

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

Prospective Buyers

Peoples Financial Corp has the same prospects for selling The Peoples Bank that it had when I reviewed it three years ago.

Bancorp South, Tupelo, MS (BXS)
First Bancshares, Hattisburg, MS (FBMS)
Iberiabank, Lafayette, LA (IBKC)

Financial Snapshot
as of 12/31/2018

Total assets:
Tangible book value per share:   
NPAs to assets:
Price to book:
Market cap:
Dividend yield:
Trailing 12-month ROA:
Trailing 12-month ROE:


Chevis B Swetman, Chairman, President, and CEO
A Wes Fulmer, Executive VP and Chief Credit Officer
Laurie A Wood, Senior VP and CFO

Red Flags

Want me to explain how bad this bank is? No sweat!
  • Swetman's 92% efficiency ratio is in the bottom 5% of all US banks
  • His 3% NPAs to assets ratio is in the bottom 5%, too
  • Loans at The Peoples Bank are down 24% in the last five years
  • Book value per share has declined by $1 in spite of stock buybacks at 70%
  • PFBX shareholders have seen the value of their holdings drop by $110M since 2000
  • Among the people who suffered this 70% decline in the value of their holdings since 2000 are the clients of Peoples' Trust Department, who collectively own 5% of PFBX
Enough already. In three years, Swetman has barely budged. He's now 69. The bank's not working and neither is he. Every stakeholder in PFBX and the bank's geographic area will be better served by new operators who will put some muscle into The Peoples Bank.



  1. Hi Phil!

    I still hold PFBX what is a good buyout target for this bank in your opinion? I'd like to add a few small banks to my porfolio and good recommendations?

    Thank you

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      I think a bank like $FBMS would happily pay $20 per share to buy $PFBX but I think there is almost zero chance of them selling. They absolutely should sell as they don't come anywhere close to earning their keep as a public company. The only folks who benefit in this equation are named Swetman. If Peoples wants to remain independent and keep bleeding the bank dry they should buy out the public shareholders at a reasonable price.
      Better banks that appreciate shareholders and would sell if the right deal came along include $SVBI $MNSB $PKKW $MFSF $DBCP. Other decent banks that have had buyout interest at much higher prices but are NOT interested in selling now (or maybe never) include $CALB $CWBC $WMCB.
      Good Luck!