OCC Ends Cease & Desist Order Against First Federal Bank

by Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 3:31 pm  

W. Dabbs Cavin, CEO of First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas Inc. of Harrison.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has ended the April 2010 cease and desist it held against First Federal Bank of Harrison, the bank's holding company announced Wednesday.

W. Dabbs Cavin, CEO of the holding company and bank, called the end of the cease and desist order "a significant milestone and a major step forward for First Federal."

"We continue to strengthen our position for long term growth and have seen substantial improvement in asset quality, as well all as other areas of the bank," he said.

The removal of the order comes a year and half after Bear State Financial Holdings LLC made a $46.3 million investment in holding company First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas Inc. of Harrison to recapitalize the bank.

Company and bank Chairman Richard N. Massey led the Bear State group, which brought a new management team to the bank. New board appointees included Scott Ford, the former Alltel Corp. CEO and a partner at Westrock Capital Partners; Aaron Clark of The Stephens Group; and Cavin.

The bank said its new management has been able to build on "its stronger capital position" and improve its condition. The once-struggling company lost about $4 million in 2010, which followed a loss of $46 million in 2009.

"As a result of continuing improvements in our operations and systems, the bank is on solid ground to pursue its plans to conservatively manage risk and grow profitably," Christopher M. Wewers, President and COO of the company and the bank, said.

"We have broadened our product offerings, added resources throughout the lending function, and will continue to implement our transformation strategy to deliver sustained profitability as a strong community bank." 



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