A prominent activist investor has pared back its stake in three banks.
Stilwell Group in New York, known for amassing large positions in banks before pressuring them to sell, has in recent weeks reduced its holdings in Malvern Bancorp in Paoli, Pa., and FSB Bancorp in Fairport, N.Y. The firm also sold off all its shares in Pinnacle Bancshares in Jasper, Ala.
The firm said in a series of regulatory filings that the sales generated about $3.6 million in proceeds.
At Malvern, Stilwell cut its ownership below 5% by selling about 28,000 shares between Dec. 5 and Dec. 7. The firm, which bought the shares at an average cost of $10 each, said it sold the stock at an average price of $18.90 a share.
Stilwell and the $821 million-asset Malvern have a history of battles. The investor sued Malvern and its board in 2011. Ronald Anderson resigned as the company's CEO in early 2014 and was subsequently succeeded by Anthony Weagley. Stilwell has been vocally supportive of Weagley.
Stilwell also disclosed that it had completed open-market sales of shares in the $256 million-asset FSB Bancorp between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. The firm said it sold about 35,500 shares at an average price of $14.23 each. The firm said it bought the position for about $8.81 a share in October 2015.
Finally, Stilwell disclosed that it has sold all its stock in the $225 million-asset Pinnacle Bancshares. The firm said it sold 106,718 shares on Dec. 8 at an average price of $23.20 each. Stilwell said it bought a 9.6% in Pinnacle in September 2014 at an average cost of $15.14 a share.
The investor still has large stakes in a number of community banks, and it continues to press many of those institutions to make improvements.
Joseph Stilwell, the head of the activist firm, demanded in July that $436 million-asset Anchor Bancorp in Lacey, Wash., sell itself due to "continued poor performance." Anchor agreed in September to name a new director as part of a truce with the activist investor.
Last month, a Stilwell representative called on John Peck, the president and CEO at HopFed Bancorp in Hopkinsville, Ky., to resign. Stilwell, the $871 million-asset company's biggest shareholder, has taken exception to Peck's compensation and what it believes to be a "paltry" dividend.