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Activist Investor Nominates Directors for N.Y. Bank's Board

Financial Institutions in Warsaw, N.Y., is facing a proxy battle from an activist investor intent on taking two board seats.

Clover Partners disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it had nominated Johnny Guerry and Terrell Philen Jr. for director posts. Funds associated with Clover own about 5.5% of the $3.4 billion-asset Financial Institutions' stock. 

Guerry is a managing partner at Clover, and Philen is chief financial officer for Customs Extrusions Holdings, a Texas company involved in the rolling, drawing and production of aluminum ingot.

Financial Institutions has faced pressure from Clover since December, when Guerry sent a letter criticizing the acquisitions of insurance brokerage Scott Danahy Naylon and investment firm Courier Capital, while also calling for the company's sale.

The calls for a sale further amplified in January when Peter Humphrey, the company's former president and chief executive, also said he would like Financial Institutions to search for a buyer.

Financial Institutions, in a statement released Tuesday, noted that its stock price has grown 50% over the past three years.

"Financial Institutions welcomes constructive feedback from its shareholders," the statement said. "The board and management team are confident that they are pursuing the right strategy to enhance value for all shareholders."

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