Proxy Battle Mounts At CUConvert
CRANFORD, N.J. - (02/02/06) Just two years after becomingone of the first converted credit unions to go public, SynergyFinancial Corp., parent of Synergy Bank, is being pressured by agroup of banking speculators that sees opportunity in the creditunion convert. Financial Edge Fund, a partnership led by P.L.Capital, is waging a proxy fight to win two seats on the formercredit unions board in hopes of forcing a multi-milliondollar stock buyback or something more profitable. The group, whichhas waged similar proxy contests at Astoria Financial, CentralBancorp and several other small thrifts, said it wants itspotential representatives on the board to review ways to lift thestock price and excessive compensation of management and directors,including CEO John Fiore, the first credit union exec to earn $1million a year after taking his ex-credit union public. Fiore, whohelped convert the credit union, then known as Synergy FCU, tomutual thrift then to publicly held thrift, met with the dissidentgroup last month and rejected their overtures out of hand andrefused to nominate the banking speculators to the board. Thatprompted the proxy battle. P.L. Capital, which has accumulated aSynergy Financial stake of just less than 10%, has waged severalproxy battles before, helping force the sale of several other smallbanks and thrifts.