Bank investors are set to lose nearly a half century of institutional knowledge when Frank Barkocy retires next week.

Barkocy, in an email entitled "Good-Bye and Good Luck," announced plans to step aside as director of research at Mendon Capital Advisors on Feb. 1. "I think it is time, and I am leaving with the knowledge that I made a ton of friends in the industry," Barkocy, 69, said in an interview Thursday.

His first experience in financial services involved a summer internship at Brown Brothers Harriman roughly 48 years ago. After graduation he joined the Brooklyn, N.Y., office of Merrill Lynch as a portfolio manager. To put it into perspective, Brian Moynihan at Bank of America (BAC) was five years old and Michael Corbat at Citigroup (NYSE:C) was four at the time.

Barkocy spent the bulk of his career as a sell-side analyst before switching over to the buy side 13 years ago by joining Keefe Managers. It was a perfect fit for him and it allowed him to work closely with one of his favorite mentors — Harry Keefe.

Keefe "was such a wonderful man with a great knowledge base," Barkocy said. "I have always hoped I could be like him in terms of being respected."

You can see a lot of change over five decades. For Barkocy, the biggest evolution has come from Washington. "I think the regulatory climate has become increasingly more intense, and it has gotten difficult for small banks to deal with that burden," Barkocy said, noting that banks have also become much more complex over the same time.

Having known countless bankers, Barkocy admitted a fondness for leaders of community banks. He was reluctant to name names for fear of omitting anyone, but he diplomatically praised the "quality people who have really worked hard" for investors over the years.

"I'm going to miss the people, the interaction with the companies," Barkocy added. "I have been blessed to have worked with some really great people and get great insights into the industry."

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