Ailing First Place in Ohio Names Interim CEO

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Struggling First Place Financial (FPFC) in Warren, Ohio, has turned to longtime banking executive Louis Dunham to help lead its recovery.

The $2.8 billion-asset company announced Monday that Dunham has been named interim president and chief executive, effective June 27. He succeeds Steven Lewis, who was fired in April as CEO of the company and its thrift subsidiary.

First Place has not published its quarterly financial results in two years and is in the midst of an internal review that will force it to restate its earnings going back to 2008. The company has said that the restatement — which centers on its methodology for accounting for loan losses — will have a "material adverse effect" on its capital levels. (Its thrift unit reported a loss of $7.7 million last year and a loss of $41 million in 2011, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, but those figures could change pending the restatement.)

The thrift is also operating under an enforcement order from regulators that requires it to bolster its capital levels and reduce its level of problem loans.

In a news release Monday, First Place said that Dunham is a "great fit" for First Place. Dunham currently heads a bank consulting firm, CAMELSolutions of Lakeville, Pa., and has previously been a CEO at community banks in Illinois and Florida. In 2009 he was brought in to help save the ailing Mutual Bank in Chicago, but the bank failed in July of that year.

First Place's shares closed at 55 cents Monday and have been trading at under $1 for most of the past year.

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