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Trustee Hopes to Avoid Allied Bank Stock Auction

3 min read

A new player has emerged in the bankruptcy case of Acme Holding Co. since its Chapter 11 reorganization was converted to Chapter 7 liquidation by judicial decree last month.

Ray Fulmer of Fort Smith was appointed trustee for the parent company of Allied Bank of Mulberry. Though advocated by Acme’s leading creditors, an auction of the $98.6 million-asset bank may not occur on his watch.

“Technically, I am the owner of Allied Bank,” Fulmer said of his caretaker role. “I have got to go out and find a buyer for the bank. I don’t plan on an auction, short of not finding a suitor. My plan is to dress that bank up like a sexy girl and put her on the deck of a ship for everyone to see.”

Acme’s most significant asset by far is its stock ownership of Allied Bank, which remains under the operational control of the Lex Golden family of Little Rock. Those shares are in the physical possession of Acme’s lead creditor, Chambers Bank of Danville, and secure two delinquent loans totaling more than $4.5 million.

“I’ve had success selling assets at auction, but selling a business is a different animal,” Fulmer said. “I’m going to do everything I can to maximize the one asset I have, which is the bank. I’m going to try to get some money for the unsecured creditors.”

The list includes C Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Chambers Bank that holds a $1.4 million delinquent loan claim against Acme.

Hildene Asset Management represents the holders of trust-preferred securities with a claim of more than $3 million. Walter Quinn, chairman, CEO and a leading investor in Rock Bancshares Inc. of Little Rock, owns a $2.2 million delinquent loan connected with Acme. Rock Bancshares is the parent company of $244 million-asset Heartland Bank of Little Rock.

Bankruptcy court filings by Acme indicate the Quinn loan, held in the name of Axys Capital Management, is primarily secured by 10,000 shares of Community State Bank of Bradley (Lafayette County).

Community State is owned by Allcorp Inc., a separate bank holding company also controlled by the Lex Golden family. The $17 million-asset bank, the smallest bank in Arkansas, recorded a $6,000 profit through the first six months of 2015.

After reporting a tiny profit in the first quarter, Allied Bank lost more than $200,000 in the second.

The bank intended to begin liquidating real estate recovered from bad loans (OREO) in a big way during the second quarter, according to Lex Golden, chairman and CEO of Acme as well as special assets manager at Allied.

Golden testified in bankruptcy court on April 2 that $4 million of OREO was under contract to sell by the end of the month. The bank’s financial report for the second quarter indicates those sales didn’t happen.

Allied Bank started April with $11.1 million in OREO and ended June with $11.1 million in OREO. What little OREO that did sell during the quarter produced a $47,000 loss.

“We aggressively predicted that we would sell all by the end of the year,” Golden said in court on April 2.

Allied did hold an OREO auction in July that included three of its closed branches. The results of that four-day event remain under wraps.

A meeting of Acme creditors is scheduled for Sept. 4 that could bring definition to the fate of Allied Bank.

“I hope to find someone interested in owning it,” Fulmer said. “I don’t think there are any banks in Arkansas that aren’t aware of this [situation]. It’s a matter of finding that bank where Allied would fit.”

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