Peyton R. Patterson resigned from the helm of Bankwell Financial in New Canaan, Conn., on Thursday.

Her resignation from the positions of chief executive, president and board member comes less than two months after the well-known banker was ordered by a judge to pay more than $350,000 to settle unpaid bills from American Express. She was also ordered to make payments to two country clubs and reached an agreement with the Madison, Conn., government to pay back taxes. The Hartford Business Journal first reported Patterson's financial problems in June.

Patterson did not specifically address her financial problems in a press release announcing her resignation, but she did say the departure from the $901 million-asset company was prompted by personal issues. 

"I am incredibly proud of what we achieved during my time at Bankwell and did not want my personal matters to overshadow the accomplishments and hard work of our team," Patterson said in the press release. "I am certain the company's comprehensive product offerings, strong financial position and experienced leadership will ensure its continued success."

A company spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the press release.

The company said in the release the Chairman Blake S. Drexler would assume Patterson's responsibilities while a search committee seeks a permanent replacement. The committee will consider internal and external candidates. 

In June, Drexler told the business journal that the board was confident Patterson would resolve the issues and called her an outstanding president and CEO. 

Drexler said in the press release Thursday that Patterson, who joined the company in 2012, "was a key component of our successful initial public offering, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors." 

The company raised nearly $50 million in its IPO in May. 

Before coming to Bankwell, Patterson was the CEO of NewAlliance Bancshares, which under her leadership grew from a small thrift to one of New England's largest community banks. It was sold to First Niagara Financial in 2011.

Bankwell last week reported net income of $1.2 million in the second quarter, down 16% from a year earlier. However, the company said that, excluding merger-related expenses and securities gains, net income improved 23% year over year.

"We are pleased with the performance of the bank, having just reported another successful quarter and remain on track with all our strategic initiatives including the acquisition of Quinnipiac Bank & Trust," Drexler said.

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