Metro Bancorp has a little more breathing room after an activist investor withdrew one of its two nominees for the Harrisburg, Pa., company's board.

PL Capital disclosed its decision to withdraw William Houlihan's named from consideration in a recent regulatory filing, which also included a letter to the $2.2 billion-asset company. The investment firm owns nearly 9% of Metro's stock.

The letter did not specify a reason for the withdrawal, and Richard Lashley, a PL Capital principal and its other nominee, declined to comment.

Houlihan, however, was recently hit with a cease-and-desist order by the Securities and Exchange Commission tied to dealings with First Physicians Capital Group.

Houlihan is an investment banking veteran who focused on commercial banks while at Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, and JPMorgan Chase. He stepped down as the chief financial officer of Amalgamated Bank in New York in February.

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