North Dallas Bank & Trust is in wait-and-see mode after its largest shareholder’s death.

Bert Fields Jr., son of North Dallas Bank’s founding chairman, died earlier this month, prompting the $1.2 billion-asset bank’s board to postpone its February meeting to early April.

Fields, 75, owned about 70% of the bank, Sam Renshaw’s North Dallas Bank’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, said in an interview Monday. Though he was never an officer of the bank, Fields worked closely with management for more than 50 years, Renshaw said.

The fate of Fields’ ownership stake – and who will control the shares – is unclear. “Hopefully we’ll know in a couple of weeks when they probate the will,” Renshaw said. “Directors and officers own a good portion of the bank, though we do have some outside investors.”

The bank has a respectable stake in a market that is still desirable to potential acquirers despite declining energy prices. It had six branches and roughly $1 billion in deposits around Dallas at June 30, or 0.5% market share, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

North Dallas Bank has very little exposure to the oil and gas industry, Renshaw said. “We’re not an energy lender, though [lower prices] could trickle down through the real estate” portfolio, he said.

Fields, whose family has a sizeable oil holdings, had discouraged the bank’s management from chasing credits in the energy industry. “His philosophy was to not get into a business if you didn’t have the people for it,” Renshaw said. “We never really hired anyone in that area.”

North Dallas Bank recently announced that its 2014 earnings rose 1.5% from a year earlier, to $5.7 million, though its fourth-quarter profit fell 19%, to $1.4 million.

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