New One Bank CEO Jerry Pavlas Rebuilds Brand, Braces for 'More Bad News'

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 12:00 am  

Jerry Pavlas, president and CEO of One Bank & Trust, is part of the evolving board of directors at the $454 million-asset lender. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Regulatory-mandated changes have ushered in a blend of the old and the new at Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust, and the new CEO warns of “more bad news” to come.

Bank officials reached out to Johnelle Hunt whose suggestion provided a new addition to the board of directors for the $454.4 million-asset lender.

The ouster of Layton “Scooter” Stuart as chairman, president and CEO in September opened the door for more involvement by Hunt, the trucking heiress whose family owned a controlling stake in One Bank 20 years ago.

“She hasn’t made any decisions,” said Ken Shemin, a Rogers lawyer representing Johnelle Hunt. “She’s waiting and watching. She’s hopeful Scooter Stuart will be able to work out his problems with the regulators and put together a plan to move forward.”

One Bank has already gained a new top executive and an existing director was tapped as the new chairman of the board after third-quarter 2012 action against Stuart by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The results of a forensic audit ordered by the OCC could lead to still more change and possible legal action. The audit will examine the bank’s financial records back to Jan. 1, 2009.

In the meantime, Stuart still owns 99.9 percent of the bank through its holding company, OneFinancial Corp.

That position is supported by the wealth of Hunt, who co-founded J.B. Hunt Transportation Services Inc. with her late husband.

The Hunt family financed Stuart’s purchase of its One Bank ownership, and that multimillion-dollar debt is secured by the holding company stock.

Has his forced exodus triggered events that will transform Johnelle Hunt from creditor to One Bank stakeholder?

“She has a position with the bank from collateral possession at the holding company level,” said Paul Berry, chairman of the board and a One Bank director since 2001.

“It will have bearing on the future. Her continued interest in the bank is a positive.”



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