Atlantic Coast Federal Corp. in Waycross, Ga., has appointed veteran banker Jay S. Sidhu as executive chairman of its Atlantic Coast Bank unit, a move that could help the company complete its second-step conversion.

Sidhu, the former chairman of Sovereign Bank, is also chairman and chief executive of New Century Bank in Phoenixville, Pa. He has been executive chairman of Atlantic Coast Federal since May.

Sidhu owns 7,100 shares of Atlantic Coast's 13.4 million shares outstanding yet 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 plans to sell the 65% stake that it owns and convert to a stock organization.

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