PNBC following a 'road map'
PRINCETON — With speculation still swirling around the future of Princeton National Bancorp Inc. (PNBC) and Citizens First National Bank, CEO/President Tom Ogaard says the company is in the middle of several efforts to restore not only the bank's capital, but also the public's confidence.
PNBC stock prices this week dipped to 70 cents — a considerable drop from six years ago when shares were going for $33 to $34. But Ogaard said there's a plan in place — a "road map" so to speak.
"I'd like to see it move up, obviously. With all the work we're doing and the progress we've made, it will be up to the investing public to determine what the value of the shares are in the near future," he said. "Like anything else, there's a lot of risk still out there. But we feel like there's a road map ahead to move forward, and we're working hard on it."
That road map in which Ogaard refers is a trifecta of three different efforts, however, Ogaard said he's not in a position yet to discuss the specifics.
"We are right in the middle of three different things," Ogaard said from his office Wednesday morning. "We are working down those parallel paths, and as we come to specific outcomes that we're expecting, we will be able to provide more information to the general public. There's a lot of speculation today on what's going on, but there's nothing we can comment on the outcomes (of) these three initiatives."
Likewise, Ogaard said the company was unable to disclose anything to shareholders at PNBC's recent annual meeting.
"We can't disclose anything until we are ready to disclose it to the public in general," Ogaard said. "As a publicly held company, we can't discuss anything with shareholders ... We are working very hard to restore capital at higher and higher levels. We expect to have information ... within the next 30 days. Like anything else, nothing ever happens in a time line of your own making, especially when you're relying on other's information."
An article published Wednesday on thestreet.com listed Citizens as the fourth largest undercapitalized U.S. institution on the site’s Bank Watch List. Ogaard said he's not familiar with the website and did not comment on its content.
On April 18, PNBC was notified by NASDAQ it no longer was in compliance with the minimum stockholders' equity requirement for continued listing on the NASDAQ Global Market. The reason for the written notification was because the company had dropped below NASDAQ's requirement to maintain a minimum of $10 million in stockholders' equity, per the bank's annual report filed on April 12. The notification did not immediately remove Princeton National Bancorp's common stock from NASDAQ; the company had 45 days to submit a plan to regain compliance with NASDAQ's requirement. If the plan is accepted, the company then has 180 days to get that plan executed.
On Wednesday, Ogaard said the company is still working with NASDAQ, updating information and submitting what is needed to comply with NASDAQ's time line. "We expect them to get back to us when they make a determination on their end," Ogaard said.
Ogaard said Todd Fanning, who is the executive vice president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and director of PNBC and Citizens First National Bank, has given his resignation, effective June 15.
"Todd found another position out of the area, and he indicated it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up," Ogaard said, adding Fanning addressed the entire officer group and said nothing caused him to resign other than the opportunity to move forward. "It was simply an opportunity from a career perspective. We're sad to see him go ..., but we'll move on as well."
Ogaard said he believes morale at the bank has improved. He called the staff "good stewards of the bank, who show up every day and take care of customers in a friendly and warm manner." He said he consistently hears compliments, not only about the staff but also about the importance of the bank in the community, from shareholders, customers and non-customers alike.
"People are very supportive and understand what the bank contributes to the community," he said. "They certainly want the bank to stay here, and as it's been explained to me, it is one of the pieces of the community that keeps it vibrant."
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