by Gwen Moritz
Posted 10/19/2012 03:27 pm
Updated 2 years ago
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ordered the firing late last month of Layton "Scooter" Stuart as CEO, president and chairman of the board of One Bank & Trust of Little Rock, a document released Friday afternoon reveals.
The "prompt corrective action directive" issued by the OCC on Sept. 28 confirms widespread speculation that Stuart, who owns almost all of the bank's stock, was removed by force. Arkansas Business broke the news on Oct. 15, but the bank - which does business as Onebanc - only confirmed his departure without offering any explanation or details.
On Friday, the bank issued this general statement in response to the release of the OCC order:
"Onebanc has and will continue to cooperate fully with the OCC directive and is taking all appropriate steps to address their concerns. Our Board of Directors is closely managing the day-to-day operations of the bank. Onebanc will continue to deliver our customers the service they expect and deserve."
Details are lacking in the OCC order, although it includes some tantalizing descriptions of speedy regulatory action.
The OCC notified the bank on Friday, Sept. 21, that it was deemed "to be engaging in unsafe or unsound practices" and that it would be reclassified as "undercapitalized." The bank consented on Monday, Sept. 24, and the reclassification was made the next day. On Friday of the same week, the directive ordered the board to "immediately dismiss" Stuart from all of his official roles and to cut off his access to the bank's data and records. He was given 24 hours to return any bank-owned property, including vehicles, keys, cell phones, computers and any bank records.
The order forbids One Bank from hiring Stuart or any company he is associated with to provide any services to the bank without prior approval from the OCC.
The order gives One Bank's board until Jan. 23 to hire a replacement as CEO and president, and bank spokesman Ben Noble said the board was already looking for the right person.
Asked if the capital deficiency came as a surprise to the board of directors, spokesman Ben Noble said, "That's a really good question." He said the board is "trying to determine all those details," and he said a forensic audit, also ordered by the OCC, is under way.