Harrison-based First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas, Inc. announced on Wednesday (Aug. 17) that CEO Larry Brandt would retire and be succeeded by W. Dabbs Cavin.
Brandt’s retirement and Cavin’s appointment are each effective upon the non-objection of the Federal Reserve Bank and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the primary regulators of the financial institution.
Cavin is a member of the board of directors and president of the company. He is also vice-chairman of the bank holding company board and president of the savings and loan. Cavin has been active in commercial banking in a variety of executive positions for over 20 years.
Past chairman and current board member, retired Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt said, “I have known Larry since he was in high school and I am very proud of his military service to our country. I was serving on the board when Larry joined us 38 years ago and have observed his growth of exemplary leadership since that time. With Larry’s extensive ties to the community and familiarity with our business and industry, he will continue to serve the bank.”
Brandt will remain a member of the board of directors and serve as executive vice chairman of both the company and the savings and loan subsidiary.
First Federal has been through a tumultuous transition in the last few years. The financial institution was stung by bad loans during the recession when the northwest Arkansas real estate market suffered a setback. In 2010, CEO Brandt referred to it as the "Great Recession," which led to publicly-traded First Federal beefing up its loan loss reserves and raising new capital.
In late April 2011, First Federal’s board approved a 1-for-5 reverse stock split of all outstanding shares of the company’s common stock. It also issued more than 20% of the savings and loans’ post-reverse split outstanding common stock in accordance with an agreement between First Federal and Bear State Financial Holdings, LLC.
Bear State is a private equity investment group led by former Alltel executives Joe Ford, Scott Ford and Rick Massey. In January, the group committed to invest up to $55 million in First Federal.