Longtime Director Retires from First Financial's Board

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A longtime director of the troubled First Financial Northwest (FFNW) has retired from the Renton, Wash., company's board.

Gerald Edlund also stepped down from First Savings Bank Northwest's board, the $973 million-asset company said Monday. Joseph W. Kiley 3rd, who has served as president, chief executive and a director of the bank since September, has been appointed to the company's board.

"My appointment reinforces the company's commitment to improving its performance with specific emphasis on obtaining release from all regulatory orders improving overall operating efficiencies and revising its strategic business plan, all of which would allow the company to reinstate the payment of dividends and to evaluate share repurchase alternatives along with other capital management techniques," Kiley said in a news release.

Edlund had served as a director for the company since its formation in 2007 and for the bank since 1985. His retirement was effective Monday.

Kiley's board appointment is subject to approval from the Federal Reserve. He was hired as president and CEO of the bank as part of the bank's supervisory agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions. Kiley replaced Victor Karpiak, who retired as president and CEO of the bank the same day that Kiley took over, though he remains CEO of the holding company.

Karpiak also later agreed to resign his post as chairman of First Financial to settle a contentious legal battle with an activist investor. The Stilwell Group filed a lawsuit against First Financial in June to invalidate the results of the company's board elections.

Karpiak had defeated Spencer Schneider, a representative of Stilwell, but the outside investor claimed that the results were incorrect. The group disputed a decision by a proxy tabulation service to invalidate the votes for 8 million shares in favor of Schneider.

First Financial said in December that Schneider would join the company's board after his appointment is approved by regulators and that Karpiak would resign from the board in September.

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