Four months after a management shakeup removed him from the CEO's post at First NBC Bank, Ashton Ryan Jr. has resigned as president of the New Orleans-based bank and its parent company — a development that came as little surprise to many investors and analysts after a tumultuous year for the company.
Ryan, the key figure in founding First NBC in 2006, resigned from his positions at the bank and its parent company, First NBC Holding Co., effective April 6, according to a filing Friday with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ryan will continue to work with the bank "in an advisory capacity," the filing said.
The bank's parent company announced in February that it had tapped Carl Chaney as its chief executive officer, filling a post that opened up when Ryan was demoted in December.
Chaney came with more than 30 years of experience in banking and the financial services industry, including 17 years at Hancock Holding Co., the Mississippi-based owner of New Orleans' Whitney Bank, where he served as CEO and president.
Since December 2015, First NBC's stock price has fallen by nearly 90 percent from more than $42 per share. It closed at $3.90 Monday.
The community bank, which had nearly $4.9 billion in assets, has been an active player in structuring and financing tax credit-related projects since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in 2005. It has struggled, however, with accounting issues involving those projects.
Those issues forced the company to delay financial reports and even to state that its 2014 and 2015 financial statements should no longer be relied upon.
Ryan's departure is "not all that surprising," Kevin Fitzsimmons, an analyst at Hovde Group, of Illinois, who tracks First NBC, said Monday in a note to investors.
"With Carl Chaney officially taking the reins as CEO, and the prior CEO no longer with the company, we think that investors get a little bit closer to finally turning to a new chapter," Fitzsimmons said.
Despite the shakeup, First NBC still faces questions over its capital levels and accounting practices. In an earlier regulatory filing, its parent company said it expected to record a "material valuation allowance" related to its deferred-tax assets — basically its expected cash flow from future tax benefits — as of Dec. 31.
The company said it was "unable to estimate the amount" of the potential write-down, which will be based on factors tied to its still-uncompleted financial statements for 2016. First NBC expects to file the statements by April 30.
Earlier this year, First NBC sold nine branches and $1.3 billion in loans to Hancock, providing more than $200 million in cash to help it alleviate lingering issues with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
In March, First NBC's parent company was notified by the FDIC that it was deemed "significantly undercapitalized," a move requiring it to increase its capital or take steps toward a merger.
Nine months earlier, the FDIC had said First NBC was no longer "well capitalized," a downgrade that subjected it to some banking restrictions.
In October, First NBC disclosed that it had been deemed in "troubled condition" by the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating its financial reporting.
In founding First NBC in 2006, Ryan chose a name similar to First National Bank of Commerce, a prominent New Orleans bank that was acquired by Bank One in 1998.
At the new bank's helm, Ryan pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy that pushed it to grow quickly before going public in 2013. He also played a prominent role in the city's business community as it recovered after Katrina.
As part of a review last year, First NBC disclosed issues with its internal controls, which it acknowledged had "failed to prevent and detect" some problems.
The review reported that Ryan had a "dominant influence" at the bank, and it blamed the board for a "lack of adequate oversight."