HomeStreet in Seattle has rejected a request by an activist investor to join its board.
The $6.8 billion-asset company disclosed in a Jan. 11 letter to investors that its directors, following a unanimous recommendation from its human resources and corporate governance committees, voted against the request from Charles Griege Jr.
Griege is a managing partner at Blue Lion Capital, which has openly criticized HomeStreet’s reliance on mortgages and bank acquisitions. The firm, which owns about 6% of HomeStreet’s stock, has claimed that such a strategy has led to underperformance.
HomeStreet, which has pushed back against those claims, again defended its positions in its recent communication with shareholders.
“The board has sought to work constructively with” Blue Lion, meeting with Griege on several occasions, Mark Mason, HomeStreet’s chairman, president and CEO, wrote in the letter. Griege’s request was denied after he completed a questionnaire and participated in a Jan. 8 interview with the company’s recommending committee and lead independent director.
“After a careful assessment of ... Griege’s analysis of our business strategy, however, the board concluded the issues of greatest concern regarding the operating efficiency of our bank are best addressed with the company’s current strategic plan,” Mason wrote.
HomeStreet’s strategy “has produced extraordinary growth and shareholder value since our IPO in 2012 and transformed HomeStreet from a troubled thrift into a regional community bank with a diversified array of products and services,” he added.