Harvard Illinois Bancorp's management and board have prevailed in their proxy battle with an activist investor.

The $170 million-asset company was facing pressure by New York activist investor, Joseph Stilwell, who wanted to force a sale of the company and replace the CEO on the board.

By late afternoon, Harvard Illinois' president and chief executive, Duffield Seyller, announced "a very substantial victory for the board nominees and expressed gratitude for strong community support," said a source who attended the meeting but asked not to be named.

In a phone interview thereafter, Spencer Schneider, the lawyer representing Stilwell Group, said he had not yet seen the preliminary votes. But he noted Harvard did have a priest come into the shareholder meeting to bless the board, bank, community and shareholders before it commenced.

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