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



  1. Don’t any of the directors of these banks have a spine? This is awful governance. Or lack of.

  2. Thank you for reading and commenting. Sadly, you are correct. Most of the directors in this series on bank management teams needing a kick in the pants are spineless.