BankAtlantic extends deadline to repurchase debt

Without a single deal completed when the deadline came and went on Monday, BankAtlantic Bancorp gave the holders of its corporate debt an additional month to decide whether to sell the trustee preferred securities to the company at an 80 percent discount. On Jan. 22, the Fort Lauderdale-based banking company (NYSE: BBX) sent letters to 12 funds that held $285.4 million of its trust preferred securities with offers to buy those debt notes back for $57.1 million. If they accepted, BankAtlantic Bancorp could consider the difference between the purchase price and the debt as income – categorizing it as extinguished debt. That would help the bank make up for losing $185 million in 2009. In a news release issued on Tuesday, BankAtlantic Bancorp said none of the funds holding its trust-preferred securities tendered the debt back to the company as of the deadline. [Read the full article]

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FedFirst Financial Corporation (the “Company”) (Nasdaq Capital: FFCO – News), holding company for First Federal Savings Bank (the “Bank”), announced today that the Board of Directors of the Company has unanimously adopted a Plan of Conversion and Reorganization pursuant to which the Bank will reorganize from the two-tier mutual holding company structure to the stock holding company structure and will undertake a “second-step” stock offering of shares of common stock of a new state chartered corporation formed in connection with the conversion. The Bank converted from a mutual savings bank to the two-tier mutual holding company structure in 1999 and completed a public offering of shares of the mid-tier stock holding company in 2005. [Read the full article]

We are upgrading our recommendation on Washington Federal Inc. (NasdaqGS: WFSL – News) to Neutral from Underperform.

The companys fiscal first quarter (ended Dec 31, 2009) earnings of 7 cents per share were a nickel short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This also compares unfavorably with the earnings of 23 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The results significantly deteriorated from the prior-year quarter due to a huge increase in provision for loan losses and a loss on real estate acquired through foreclosures. However, credit quality slightly improved during the quarter. Also, declining deposit rates helped improve funding concerns to a great extent while capital position remained strong.

As Washington Federal primarily generates revenue from the spread between the cost of   deposits of the general public and the returns on loans of various types, growth of loans and deposits should be a good health indicator for its business. [Read the full article]

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