Atlantic Coast Federal Corp. in Waycross, Ga., has appointed veteran banker Jay S. Sidhu as executive chairman of its thrift, mirroring a position he has held at the company since May.

Sidhu, the former chairman of Sovereign Bank, also is the chairman and chief executive of New Century Bank in Phoenixville, Pa., roles he took on after leading a $17 million infusion into that bank in June 2009.

Beyond Sidhu's presence, there are no apparent links between the companies.

Sidhu owns 7,100 shares of Atlantic Coast's 13.4 million shares outstanding, but the company has said that its directors and executives are expected to participate in the second-step offering, so Sidhu's ownership stake is likely to increase.

The $901 million-asset mutual holding company is in the midst of second-step conversion. It plans to sell the 65% stake owned by the company in the open market and convert to a stock organization. The conversion is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

"With additional capital, we see significant opportunities for organic growth and possible acquisitions," Sidhu said in a press release. "I look forward to working with bank management and the board in developing a world-class risk-management infrastructure and a strong foundation to enable it to take full advantage of growth prospects ahead."

The company attempted a similar conversion in late 2007, but called it off because of little interest.

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