Fulton Financial, banker Andrew Samuel have big plans for 2018Recaps and updates of the top five most-read banking stories of 2017
The midstate's top banking stories this year had nothing to do with mergers.
While news of market disruptions and major acquisitions dominated headlines in 2016, 2017's most-read banking articles included stories of alleged crimes, a major expansion, C-suite retirements and speculation about the future of a former midstate executive, as well as mourning for the loss of an industry icon.
Recaps of - and, in some cases, updates on - the Central Penn Business Journal's top five most-read banking stories of the year are below.
5. What's next for former Susquehanna Bank CEO Andrew Samuel?
Andrew Samuel is getting ready for a return to the midstate. And that return might include starting a new bank.
The former local bank executive - who led institutions like Graystone Financial Corp., Tower Bancorp and Susquehanna Bank - moved to Florida in 2014 to take on the role of CEO at a company called Sunshine Bancorp.
Sunshine is expected to move to new ownership in the first quarter of 2018, and Samuel does not plan to move with it. His future, he said in August, could very well take him back into the midstate.
In the months since the Central Penn Business Journal first spoke with Samuel about the Sunshine acquisition, he and a team of other former midstate bankers have worked toward solidifying their plans for a return to Central Pennsylvania. Those plans will probably include starting a new community bank catering to the nonprofit, retail and other business sectors, Samuel said in December.
Samuel and his team are eyeing several possible avenues through which they could make this new institution a reality. While starting a bank from scratch - known in the industry as a de novo - is not entirely out of the question, Samuel suspects they will more than likely try to buy an existing institution.
That route is similar to one another group of local industry veterans took this year to launch Advantage Bank, a still-developing institution expected to cater to midsize businesses. Advantage's leaders, including The Legacy Bank founder George Groves and former Metro Bank COO Percival Moser III, announced plans for their first acquisition in July.
While Samuel's group cannot formalize many next steps until after the Sunshine acquisition closes next month, Samuel said he is aware of about four or five banks that might eventually make good acquisition targets for a new institution.
4. Former Commerce Bank manager indicted for fraud
A jury indicted a former Commerce Bank branch manager for fraud in March after she allegedly originated nearly $380,000 in fraudulent loans and pocketed a portion of the proceeds.
That former manager - Karen Ramm of Camp Hill - has since pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime and is asking the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations has expired, according to court documents.
Prosecutors say Ramm originated the fraudulent loans between 2001 and 2007 for a customer she knew personally.
3. Fulton revives $21M HQ expansion in Lancaster
Fulton Financial Corp. is preparing for big changes in 2018, including work on a $21 million expansion of its headquarters in downtown Lancaster.
The three-story, 60,000-square-foot office building on East King Street will sit across the street from Fulton's existing headquarters on Penn Square. It will include an additional 400 workspaces, which Fulton expects to fill with new hires as well as existing employees who currently work out of leased spaces.
Since announcing its plans in April, Fulton has slightly altered its plans for the building's facade so that the windows on each floor align vertically, as opposed to the staggered pattern proposed in the initial rendering, LNP reported in July.
As of Dec. 13, the project was still out for bid. Bank officials hope to name a contractor in January and still expect to wrap up construction by the end of 2018.
2. Fulton Bank CEO, Fulton Financial COO to retire
The headquarters expansion isn't the only change in store for the midstate's largest financial institution. Fulton Financial is also preparing for a C-suite shake-up in the new year.
Fulton Financial Corp. COO and interim CFO Philmer Rohrbaugh plans to retire effective March 30, 2018. Fulton Bank CEO Craig Roda expects to make his exit shortly thereafter, retiring effective May 1.
Replacing them are Fulton Bank veteran Curtis Myers, who plans to serve as Fulton Financial COO and Fulton Bank CEO, and former Griffin Financial Group COO Mark McCollom, who has been named the next CFO of Fulton Financial Corp.
1. Local leaders remember Bob Marquette, 'an industry icon'
Bob Marquette was arguably one of the most visible and outspoken finance executives in the midstate. His unexpected death in July sent shock waves through Central Pennsylvania's business community.
Marquette was a key player in Members 1st Federal Credit Union's exponential growth, his colleagues said, and its longtime leader. He led the Cumberland County-headquartered institution's mortgage department, oversaw lending and served as COO before becoming CEO in 1997. Under his watch, the credit union grew from $400 million in assets to its current total of $3.6 billion.
Marquette also gained a reputation as a fierce advocate for credit union rights, supported several charitable organizations and gained a degree of local celebrity through his role as the cape-wearing Advice Guy on Members 1st commercials.
Members 1st chose longtime spokesman and executive George Nahodil to fill Marquette's shoes.