Ponce Financial Group, Bronx, NY (PDLB)

A New York Case of Self-Serving Bank Conversion

Photo of Subway Station in Bronx, NY
Ponce Financial Group stands out amongst its peers in the northeastern US, but not in a good way.

Despite receiving $225M of preferred funding (i.e., no interest for two years) in June 2022 from the U.S. Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP),  PDLB remains unprofitable. Meanwhile, Management's deployment of capital has been as unusual as it is self-serving.

PDLB is a walking invitation for shareholders who meet the SEC Rule §240.14a-8 criteria to submit proposals recommending that Management put Ponce Bank up for sale first chance it can (i.e., January 2025). 

Per Ponce Financial's April 2023 Proxy, the deadline to submit a shareholder proposal is December 29, 2023.

Disclosure: As of this posting, I don't own any shares of PDLB.

Prospective Buyers

Any of these area banks should be able to cut costs and better utilize Ponce Bank's assets by acquiring Ponce near book value:

Apple Bank, New York, NY (private)
Dime Community Bank, Bronx, NY (DCOM)
Emigrant Savings, New York, NY (private)

Financial Snapshot
as of 09/30/2023

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:


Steven A. Tsavaris, Chairman
Carlos P. Naudon, President and CEO
Sergio Vaccaro, CFO

Red Flags

It's easy to see how Ponce Bank has lost $37M since its January 2022 second step stock offering. It's less easy to understand Management's unusual capital investments and self-serving compensation strategies.
  • Just months after raising $122M in the stock offering, Ponce reported an $8M quarterly loss due to a fraudulent microlending program called Grain.
  • Not to be deterred, Ponce then partnered with unproven fintech startups SaveBetter LLC and LendingFront Technologies. 
  • Last October, Ponce spent $3M to purchase an interest in Latin American (!) payment processor Bamboo Payment
  • In spite of their poor performance and creative capital destruction, Tsvaris and Naudon paid themselves $4.9M over the past two years. 

Assets $2.6B $830M $907M $1.7B
Stock +/– – 10% + 25% - 2%+ 70%
Earnings* -$27.1M +$7.2M +$14.2M +$58.9M

* Since PDLB's January 2022 conversion


1895 Bancorp of Wisconsin, Greenfield, WI (BCOW)

A Wisconsin Case of Self-Serving Bank Conversion

My nomination for The Most Self-Serving Recent Bank Conversion? PyraMax Bank's conversion into 1895 Bancorp of Wisconsin (BCOW). 

Every BCOW shareholder who meets the SEC Rule §240.14a-8 criteria for Who Can Submit a Shareholder Proposal should seriously consider doing so. It's a simple step toward protecting one's own investment while helping to strengthen America's banking system.

Per 1895 Bancorp's April 2023 Proxy, shareholder proposals are due by January 15, 2024. 

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

Prospective Buyers

At the right price (a slight discount to book value), PyraMax Bank would boost earnings for any of these three Southeastern Wisconsin franchises:

FFBW, Inc, Brookfield, WI (FFBW)
Waterstone Financial, Wauwatosa, WI (WSBF)
Westbury Bancorp, Pewaukee, WI (WBBW)

Financial Snapshot
as of 06/30/2023

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:


Darrel A. Francis, Chairman
David Ball, President and CEO
Richard Hurd, Executive VP Strategic Planning (Former President and CEO) 
Monica Baker, COO

Red Flags

1895 Bancorp of Wisconsin is the biggest Money Grabber and Money Loser, not only among recent bank conversions, but compared to its peers in Wisconsin.

Last year, 1895 Bancorp paid its directors over 5x what its peers paid theirs. Its executives received $500K more over a two-year period than even the next highest compensated of their peers. 

Don't let Management kid you. They're not paying themselves for performance. This is pure grift: BCOW's PyraMax is the only bank in the list to have lost money since January 2019 when it began its conversion.

Assets $553M $251M $238M $327M
Stock +/– – 39% - 12% - 24%+ 10%
Board Members    5  
6 8 8
Average Comp Directors (2022)




Average Comp Top 2 Executives
(2021 & 2022)
$550K $736K $633K
Earnings* - $8.1M + $500K + $4.8M + $8.1M

* Since 1895 Bancorp's January 2019 Mutual Holding Company conversion