A Surprising Refuge in a Dangerous Stock Market

“We Have More Ideas Than Money.” That’s what John Palmer and Rich Lashley titled their most recent presentation.  You don’t hear that much today. Most of us 
have more money than ideas...

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Investment Opportunities in Bank Stocks

A summary of investment opportunities available in bank stocks, advantages to this investment and new analysis of the banking industry post financial crisis...

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This Boogeyman Scares Small Bankers

If you're a banker, John Palmer is the scariest ex-accountant you're ever going to see. The principal and co-founder of Naperville-based PL Capital LLC specializes in investing in small and midsized banks and then agitating for changes like management overhauls or sales...

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About Us

PL Capital, LLC (“PL Capital”) was formed by Richard Lashley and John Palmer in 1996 to focus on the banking industry. Messrs. Lashley and Palmer have devoted their entire professional careers to the banking and financial services sector, initially through their experience at KPMG LLP, the world’s leading provider of professional services to the banking and financial services sector, in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and then with PL Capital since its founding in 1996. PL Capital focuses on publicly traded U.S. banks and thrifts with market capitalizations ranging from $50 million to $3 billion. PL Capital is one of the few investment firms in the U.S. which utilizes shareholder activism to improve the performance and strategic direction of the banks and thrifts in which it invests.

The principals of PL Capital strongly believe the banking industry is an attractive area in which to invest. As any casual observer of the national and local business news knows, the banking industry is consolidating. This trend, which began in earnest in the early 1990’s, is the result of the U.S. being severely overbanked. The U.S. still has approximately 6,200 banks and thrifts, far more than the amount needed to serve the public and businesses efficiently. This consolidation trend has created significant investment opportunities for investors, such as PL Capital, who have the appropriate industry expertise to identify and value potential takeover candidates and undervalued financial institutions.

In order to capitalize on this opportunity, in January 1996 PL Capital formed its first private investment partnership, the Financial Edge Fund, L.P. (“the Partnership”). The Partnership invests primarily in publicly traded and privately placed equity and debt securities of banks, thrifts and other financial services companies. PL Capital subsequently launched the Financial Edge-Strategic Fund, L.P. in 1998, Goodbody/PL Capital, L.P. in 2000 and the PL Capital/Focused Fund, L.P. in 2004 (collectively, the “Partnerships”). In 2016, PL Capital formed the PL Capital Plus Fund, L.P. to focus on consolidation in the large community and regional bank space. The Partnerships are available to qualified individuals, corporations, pension plans, IRAs, Keoghs and trusts.


JOHN W. PALMER, Principal

Mr. Palmer is a co-founder of PL Capital, LLC. Prior to co-founding PL Capital in 1996, Mr. Palmer was employed by KPMG LLP, an international public accounting firm, from 1983 to 1996. While at KPMG, Mr. Palmer specialized as an auditor and a strategic advisor to companies in the commercial banking, consumer finance, thrift, mortgage banking and discount brokerage industries, serving publicly and privately held clients ranging in size from $25 million to $25 billion. He has extensive experience in merger and acquisition transactions, public and private securities offerings, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and regulatory issues. He has advised numerous banking organizations regarding their strategic alternatives, including M&A, mergers of equals and opportunities to enhance or expand existing lines of business. In 1993, Mr. Palmer was promoted to the position of Director, KPMG Financial Services - Capital Strategies Group, a national corporate finance practice providing merger and acquisition advisory services to thrifts, banks, mortgage companies and other financial services companies. In this capacity, Mr. Palmer developed expertise in banking and financial industry mergers and acquisitions, thrift mutual to stock conversions, valuation, capital restructurings, strategic planning and asset purchases and divestitures. He has been involved in numerous mergers and acquisitions with transaction values of up to $600 million.

Mr. Palmer also instructed financial institutions classes for KPMG. He has been a guest speaker at numerous corporate governance and banking industry conferences, as well as quoted in many banking articles. Mr. Palmer has previously been designated as a “financial expert,” as that term is defined by the Sarbanes Oxley Act for members of audit committees of boards of directors of publicly-held companies.

Mr. Palmer is currently a member of the Board of Directors of BankFinancial Corporation, a publicly-traded $1.6 billion in assets thrift holding company which is the parent holding company of BankFinancial, FSB, located in Olympia Fields, Illinois, which operates 20 branches throughout Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Palmer was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of:

HF Financial Corp. a publicly-traded $1.4 billion in assets thrift holding company which is the parent holding company of Home Federal Bank, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which operates 28 branches throughout South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Palmer served on the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, the Personnel, Compensation and Benefits Committee, as well as the Risk Committee which he served as Chairman.

Security Financial Bancorp, Inc., a publicly-traded $200 million in assets thrift located in St. John, Indiana which was sold in 2003, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Franklin Bancorp and its wholly owned subsidiary, Franklin Bank, NA, a $700 million in assets commercial bank located in Southfield, Michigan, where he served on the Audit, Compensation, and Loan Committees. Mr. Palmer also served as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee.

CFS Bancorp, Inc. the parent holding company of Citizens Financial Bank, a $1.4 billion asset federal savings bank which operated 22 offices throughout adjoining markets in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Mr. Palmer was a member of CFS Bancorp’s audit committee.

Clever Ideas, Inc., a privately-held specialty finance company located in Chicago, Illinois from 1998 to 2006.

Mr. Palmer is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, where he served as President of the Board for four years. In his capacity as President, Mr. Palmer oversaw the purchase of the Biograph Theater in Chicago and its re-development into a state of the art live performance theater. Mr. Palmer also oversaw the Capital Campaign for the renovation of the theater, which raised $11 million.

Additionally, he has served as treasurer for the River Run Club, a community swim and tennis club. He previously served as a member of the Founders Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts and as Chairman of the Professional Outreach Program at the art institute and is a past member of the Membership Committee of the Board of Trustees. He is the past secretary and treasurer of the Intermediate’s Council for the Detroit Athletic Club. Additionally, he has served as Chairman of the Walsh College Fundraising Drive.

Mr. Palmer obtained his Bachelor of Accounting Degree from Walsh College. He formerly practiced as a Certified Public Accountant in Michigan and Illinois and is currently a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.


RICHARD J. LASHLEY, Principal

Mr. Lashley is a co-founder of PL Capital, LLC. Prior to co-founding PL Capital in 1996, Mr. Lashley was employed by KPMG, where he developed a specialization providing professional accounting and consulting services to numerous thrifts, banks and mortgage companies. In 1991, he was selected to be the Assistant to the National Industry Director of KPMG’s National Banking and Finance practice. In 1993, Mr. Lashley was promoted to the position of Director, KPMG Financial Services - Capital Strategies Group, a national corporate finance practice providing merger and acquisition advisory services to thrifts, banks, mortgage companies and other financial services companies. In this capacity, Mr. Lashley developed expertise in financial industry M & A, thrift mutual to stock conversions, valuation, capital restructurings, strategic planning and asset purchases and divestitures. Since 1992, Mr. Lashley and Mr. Palmer have served as financial advisors in bank mergers with over $1.0 billion in transaction value. Mr. Lashley resigned from KPMG in early 1996 in order to focus on the formation of PL Capital, LLC.

Mr. Lashley has served as the Assistant to the Chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Savings Institutions Committee in Washington, D.C. and as a member of the AICPA Ad Hoc Committee on FDICIA. He has extensive experience working with banking regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies on a national and regional level. Mr. Lashley often speaks about the banking industry, corporate governance and related topics at national and regional banking and investment industry conferences and seminars. He is often quoted in national publications on matters related to the banking industry.

Mr. Lashley is currently a member of the Board of Directors of:

  • Banc of California, Inc. a publicly traded $11 billion in assets bank based in Irvine, CA

Mr. Lashley was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of:

  • MutualFirst Financial, Inc., a publicly-traded $1.4 billion in assets bank holding company based in Muncie, IN.
  • Metro Bancorp, Inc., a publicly-traded $3.0 billion in assets bank holding company based in Harrisburg, PA.
  • State Bancorp, Inc., a publicly-traded $1.7 billion in assets bank holding company located in Long Island, New York and New York City.
  • BCSB Bancorp, Inc, a publicly traded $600 million in assets bank holding company based in Baltimore, MD.
  • Community FSB Holding Co., a $65 million in assets thrift holding company located in Queens, NY.
  • Haven Bancorp, Inc., a publicly-traded $3.0 billion in assets thrift holding company located in Queens, New York and the Advisory Board of New York Community Bancorp, the acquirer of Haven Bancorp.
  • Security Financial Bancorp, Inc., a publicly-traded $200 million in assets thrift holding company located in St. John, Indiana.
  • Franklin Bancorp, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Franklin Bank, NA, a $600 million in assets commercial bank located in Detroit, MI.
  • Central Bancorp, Inc., a $500 million in assets thrift holding company in Somerville, MA, and its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Central Co-Operative Bank.
  • Clever Ideas, Inc., a privately-held specialty finance company located in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Lashley qualifies as a “financial expert,” as that term is defined by the Sarbanes Oxley Act for members of audit committees of boards of directors of publicly-held companies.

Mr. Lashley received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Oswego State University in 1980 and an MBA degree in Accounting from Rutgers University in 1984. Mr. Lashley placed in the top 10% of his class at both Oswego State and Rutgers.

Mr. Lashley is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in New Jersey (status inactive). He is the former Chairman of the Oswego College School of Business Capital Campaign and a member of the Rutgers University Business School Finance Advisory Board.

Mr. Lashley is 55.


CURT THOMPSON, Managing Director Investor Relations and Business Development

Curt Thompson joined the PL Capital Group as Managing Director in June of 2012 after 20 years of institutional equity sales and trading, focusing almost entirely on the banking industry. He began his career following community banking stocks with The Chicago Corporation in 1992, as the S&L demutualization wave began in earnest. His responsibilities included market making, corporate advisory and investment advice to family offices, high net worth individuals and many of the most prominent institutional bank investors of the last two decades. He has extensive experience in the analysis and block trading of smaller market capitalization securities and corporate buybacks.

While working in the community banking space, Mr. Thompson also worked within the bank equity services group of Tucker Anthony in Chicago from 1997 until their merger with RBC Capital Markets in 2002. Following the RBC transaction, Thompson helped build the Financial Institutions Group at Boston based, Moors & Cabot, Inc. He was responsible for the management and oversight of a 20 person research, sales, trading and investment banking team. In 2006, Mr. Thompson and his Financial Institution Group were recruited to Birmingham, Alabama based Sterne, Agee and Leach to launch a significant build out of their institutional Financial Services Group. Sterne Agee has since sold their financial services practice to Stifel Nicolas/KBW. Mr. Thompson helped that firm establish their offices in Chicago, New York and Atlanta. Sterne, Agee and Leach, during his tenure, hosted some of the most well attended community bank and thrift investor conferences in the country. To this day, Sterne, Agee is recognized as one of the strongest full service financial industry focused brokerages in the United States.

Prior to his tenure in the community bank space, Mr. Thompson worked at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Board of Options exchange, in equity and interest rate options. He holds a Finance degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. He obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance at The University of Iowa in 1987. Mr. Thompson is 49.


MATT C. DWYER, Chief Compliance Officer

Mr. Dwyer is the Chief Compliance Officer for PL Capital.  Prior to joining PL Capital in 2014, Mr. Dwyer founded a consulting firm, MCD Consulting, which specialized in compliance consulting for hedge funds, registered investment advisors and broker-dealers.  Areas of specialization included annual testing, conflicts of interest, supervision, suitability, branch office operations and anti-money laundering.  He also provided litigation support and expert witness services in securities related arbitrations. 

Prior to founding MCD Consulting, Mr. Dwyer ran the Internal Audit Department at Mesirow Financial, a leading regional brokerage firm.  While at Mesirow, Mr. Dwyer led the oversight of investment advisor and broker-dealer affiliates. Areas of review include retail and institutional investment management, private equity and hedge funds. Mr. Dwyer also created and directed the annual branch office review program, which included review of all investment advisory and broker-dealer branch offices on an annual basis. As head of Internal Audit, Mr. Dwyer also coordinated regulatory exams with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). 

Mr. Dwyer began his career at FINRA where he served in a number of positions, including Senior Compliance Examiner.  While at FINRA, Mr. Dwyer led and conducted investigations of FINRA firms and representatives opened through arbitration filings, customer complaints and employee terminations. He also conducted on-site investigations regarding potential rule violations by member firms and registered representatives in the areas of sales practice supervision, suitability, brokerage operations, brokerage accounting and Anti-Money Laundering. These investigations required that he issue reports of investigation and provided testimony at FINRA and NAC disciplinary hearings.

Mr. Dwyer serves as an Adjunct Professor at Olivet Nazarene University, where he earned an MBA in 2004.  He teaches classes in the areas of Finance and Statistics. 

He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 1998 from Governors State University