LETTER: To Peoples Financial Corp, Biloxi, MS (PFBX)

Time step up the heat on Swetman.

It's not just the July weather that has me hot and bothered. Since my February 28, 2019 update on Peoples Financial Corp, new information has come to light revealing a serious lapse at the Board level and an urgent need to clean house at The People’s Bank.

Hence, I have decided to take a more proactive approach on behalf of all shareholders invested in PFBX.

Below is a letter I am sending to the Independent Directors of The People's Bank. If you are a shareholder who agrees with my assessment, I encourage you to send your own letter, too.

Letters may be emailed to gbatia@thepeoples.com

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

My Letter to Peoples Financial Corp

To the “Independent” Directors of Peoples Financial Corp

  • T. Dan Magruder, Vice Chairman
  • E. A. "Drew" Allen
  • Rex E. Kelly
  • Jeffrey H. O'Keefe Sr.
  • George J. Sliman III

Howard and Lameuse Avenues
Biloxi, MS 39533

Dear Directors,

I am a long-term shareholder in Peoples Financial. I own more shares than any director not named Swetman.

It has been painful to witness the abysmal performance of the bank.

You owe shareholders the fiduciary duty to explore a merger. Your results will not justify a stock price anywhere near what you could obtain in a sale in any of our lifetimes. If you want Peoples to remain independent, you should pass the hat in the community, pay the outside shareholders a fair price, and go private.

Given recent prices paid for your neighbors, Charter Bank and First Florida Bank, and in spite of your lousy 0.06% ROA and 0.4% ROE, I believe you could garner as much as $30 per share in a sale, due to the cost savings an acquirer could achieve.

The recent SunHerald article highlighting loans The Peoples Bank made to crooked lawyers demonstrates the Board’s complete lack of control and failure to oversee inept management. And this is only what the reporter was able to find out. What other improper loans are there that we don’t know about? Further, what malfeasance did you commit to incur the June settlement payout of $200,000?

Since April 3, 1996 (the first date for which I can find a trade in PFBX stock), the value of PFBX — including dividends reinvested — has DECLINED by 8%. In contrast, the S&P has advanced by almost 600%. All on your and Chevis Swetman’s watch. In my opinion, the Board should fire Swetman for cause. What other publicly held bank CEO has made nefarious loans like this, spent 40 years destroying shareholder value, and still has a job? As “Independent" Directors, you are personally liable for your failure to properly govern Peoples Financial.

In conclusion, you have not earned the right to maintain control of this bank, and you are not abiding by your own corporate Code of Conduct. Please exercise your fiduciary duties to shareholders and sell The Peoples Bank to the highest bidder before any more value is dissipated.


Philip J. Timyan
PFBX Shareholder


  1. I looked at recent earnings. It looks like your letter has touched a nerve or two.

    1. Thank you Roger! PFBX officials acknowledge receiving my letter but had no response. The results are still awful though. Clearly they will not be earning their independence anytime soon.