Atlantic Coast Bank began life in 1939 as a credit union established in Waycross, Ga., to serve employees of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, a predecessor of CSX.
In 2000, the Atlantic Coast Federal Credit Union converted to a savings bank under its current name, Atlantic Coast Bank.
Now in 2016, it wants to become a commercial bank.
The bank’s parent company, Atlantic Coast Financial Corp., said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week it applied to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to convert from a federally chartered savings bank to a state-chartered commercial bank.
The filing notes this change won’t impact customers, but doesn’t give a reason why the bank is making a change.
Tracy Keegan, Atlantic Coast Financial’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said there is a very simple explanation: switching from a federal to a state charter will make the bank’s regulatory process less complicated.
Keegan said the bank has to go through several levels in the federal system to get issues resolved with its regulators. Once the state’s Office of Financial Regulation becomes its primary regulator, the bank will have more direct access and can get issues resolved quicker.
“It’s basically just for local decision-making,” she said.
The bank is also applying for membership to the Federal Reserve System, which will give it access to the system’s services but also means it is subject to supervision by the Federal Reserve Board.
As for the switch from a savings bank to a commercial bank, “that’s just really a technicality,” Keegan said.
That’s true. It really doesn’t matter anymore whether a financial institution is classified as a commercial or savings bank.
Until the late 1970s, savings and loans or savings banks were institutions that were restricted to only making home mortgage loans.
But after four decades of deregulation in the industry, savings and loans can basically offer the same services as commercial banks.
Certainly customers never see a difference.
Atlantic Coast Bank has gone through many changes over the years. When it converted from a credit union, it became a mutual savings bank, which is technically a savings and loan owned by its depositors.
However, in 2004 its holding company became a public company with an initial offering of stock.
The company shifted its focus from Southeast Georgia to Northeast Florida and moved its headquarters from Waycross to Jacksonville in 2011. However, three of its 10 branches remain in Georgia.
Atlantic Coast Financial went through a management overhaul in 2013 and after six straight years of losses, it turned profitable in 2014.
The only analyst who follows the company, Bob Ramsey of FBR & Co., expects the good news to continue, rating Atlantic Coast Financial’s stock at “outperform.”
“We like ACFC’s strong growth in attractive markets and scarcity value as one of the few community banks remaining in northern Florida,” Ramsey said in his most recent report on the stock.
Web.com realigns management
Web.com Group Inc. last week announced a reorganization of its upper management following its $342 million acquisition of digital marketing company Yodle in March.
The reorganization includes putting three former Yodle executives in high-level roles at Web.com.
Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer Jason Teichman is resigning “to pursue other opportunities,” the company said.
David Brown remains chairman, CEO and president of Jacksonville-based Web.com, which provides website development services for businesses.
Former Yodle Brand Networks President Steve Power was appointed executive vice president of brand networks for Web.com. The two other Yodle executives, Dafna Sarnoff and Angela Dunham, were named to senior vice president positions.
Two continuing Web.com executives, Vikas Rijsinghani and Faisal Chughtai, were named executive vice presidents.
Brown said in a news release the reorganization was made to “better align our resources to execute against our strategic goals.”
APR Energy receives $450M contract from Argentina
APR Energy was struggling financially before it was bought out in February by a consortium of private investment firms.
With the new ownership, Jacksonville-based APR, which builds interim power plants around the world, may be getting back on track.
APR last week announced it was awarded two five-year projects valued at more than $450 million by the Ministry of Energy and Mining of Argentina. The company said it is the largest single contract in its history.
Since it’s no longer a publicly traded company, APR is not releasing financial information anymore. Before the buyout, it reported an operating loss of $702.5 million for 2014, due to a pullout of its operations in Libya because of turmoil there.
Its last public financial report showed an adjusted net loss of $40.3 million in the first half of 2015.
APR said the Argentina contract is its fourth award in the past year for mobile gas turbines, including projects in Egypt and Tasmania.
“Our Argentina award further demonstrates that turbines have a key place in the fast-track power market. They are the preferred technology of utilities and a solution that integrates well into their existing infrastructure,” CEO John Campion said in a news release.
International Baler reports loss
International Baler Corp. reported a net loss of $56,131, or 1 cent a share, for the second quarter ended April 30 as sales dropped 28 percent to $2.65 million.
The Jacksonville-based company produces balers used for recycling and waste disposal. In its second-quarter report filed with the SEC, International Baler said shipments of balers declined “significantly” due to “general market conditions.”
Parts and service sales rose 63 percent, but that was not enough to offset the sales drop in new balers.
NAC profits from derivatives
NAC Global Technologies Inc. reported a profit of $491,396, or 1 cent a share, in the first quarter due to a gain in the value of derivative financial instruments.
The company’s revenue fell 15 percent to $104,148 and it recorded a loss from operations of $87,156, according to its quarterly report filed with the SEC.
NAC makes harmonic gearing technology, which is used in the automation, robotics and defense industries. Its headquarters office is in Jacksonville but most of its operations are done at a facility in Port Jervis, N.Y.
NAC last month announced an agreement to buy a Switzerland-based company called Swiss Heights Engineering S.A. that it said would grow annual revenue to more than $30 million.
Supervalu plans Save-A-Lot supermarket spinoff
Supervalu Inc. is closing in on a plan to spin off its Save-A-Lot Inc. supermarket chain into a separate public company.
Supervalu announced in July 2015 it was considering a plan to spin off the 1,360-store Save-A-Lot chain, which includes 10 Jacksonville area locations.
The company is not saying when the spin might occur but it filed updated plans with the SEC with more details about the plan. Supervalu intends to distribute 60 percent of Save-A-Lot’s shares to Supervalu stockholders, while the company retains a 40 percent ownership, it said.
Save-A-Lot produced sales of $4.6 billion in the fiscal year ended Feb. 27 and earnings of $67 million, the filing said.
Save-A-Lot’s headquarters will be in Earth City, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.
Supervalu, headquartered in Minneapolis, provides wholesale services to 1,796 independent grocery stores and operates 200 retail stores through several brands, in addition to its Save-A-Lot subsidiary.
Bank of America reducing branch jobs by 8,000
Bank of America Corp. has cut nearly 40,000 jobs in its branch operations since 2009 and is likely to cut another 8,000, a company official said at an investor conference last week.
Thong Nguyen, head of retail banking for the financial giant, said he expects jobs to decline as fewer employees are needed to handle customer transactions in the branches, according to several reports. Use of mobile and internet banking services has reduced the need for traditional branches.
He did not give a timetable for the reduction but indicated many of the cuts could come through attrition, the reports said.
Nguyen’s PowerPoint presentation, posted on Bank of America’s website, said the company has reduced its headcount in its retail branch network from about 108,000 in 2009 to 68,400.
The company has about 8,000 employees in Jacksonville, including branches and other operations.