Rapid changes at Bank of Floyd kept tongues wagging last week with news of the departure of longtime President and CEO Leon Moore, appointment of Executive Vice President Michael Larrowe as the new boss and changes in the board.
But one question keeps coming up in breakfast table conversations at the Blue Ridge and over coffee around the county: “Will the bank be sold?”
The answer is no. It won’t. A lot of claims were made during the bitter proxy fight over control of the bank that North Carolina investor Douglas Schaller planned to lay off a large number of employees and sell the locally-owned bank to some large financial institution.
Neither is true, says new board chairman John Paul Houston. I’ve known John Paul for a number of years. He grew up in a house next to my grandparents. Amy and I live in house that he and his family once owned. I trust him and take him at his word.
Schaller — who controls 10 percent of the stock and initiated the battle that resulted in ouster of three incumbent board members and the resignations of two others — couldn’t sell the bank even if he wanted to.
It takes action by the board of directors and ratification of that action by two-thirds of the shareholders to sell the bank. The three new board members — Houston, lawyer Jim Shortt and real estate broker Mauyer Gallimore — has pledged publicly to keep the bank locally owned and long time board member Howard Cundiff — who owns almost as much stock as Schaller and controls more when you factor in family members — opposes sale and remains on the board.
So it ain’t happening and people can stop worrying.
As for firings, the new board members made it clear during the battle that only one name was on the firing list: Moore. He’s gone. Nobody else’s head is on the chopping block.