published Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

FSG taps Coffman as CEO

Coffman succeeds Holley as head of Chattanooga’s biggest independent bank

For the first time since its creation in 1999, First Security Group has a new chief executive.

Rodger B. Holley, the 64-year-old banker who helped start FSG and headed the Chattanooga banking company for the past 11 years, announced Monday he has resigned following losses at the bank from loan write-offs totaling nearly $82 million over the past two years.

Holley leaves less than two months after FSG’s former chief financial officer, William L. “Chip” Lusk Jr., also resigned to join an Atlanta bank. Holley and Lusk were among the former managers of Pioneer Bank who started First Security in 1999 and helped build the company into Chattanooga’s biggest locally based bank.

Ralph E. “Gene” Coffman Jr., a veteran banker of more than 20 years who joined FSG as president last year, has succeeded Holley as CEO. Coffman, 59, previously served as Ohio regional president of WesBanco Bank, Inc., and as chief executive of Oak Hill Financial Inc., in Ohio.

“Gene has demonstrated strong leadership since joining First Security in 2010 as president and chief operating officer,” said Ralph Mathews, a member of the FSG board. “His background and successful track record made him the ideal candidate during the board’s national search for that position, and his performance merits this appointment as acting interim CEO.”

First Security Group
  • Major holding: FSG Bank
  • New CEO: Ralph E. “Gene” Coffman
  • Headquarters: Chattanooga
  • Assets: $1.2 billion at end of 2010
  • Equity: $93.4 million at end of 2010
  • Earnings: First Security lost $46.4 million in 2010, or $2.95 per share,
  • Offices: 37 full-service offices in East and Middle Tennessee and northern Georgia
  • What’s next: FSG will report first quarter earnings in early May.

FSG has been operating under a consent order with bank regulators for the past year. In its annual report released this month, FSG warned that it may not be able to meet all of the conditions of regulators to shore up the bank’s capital position, although the report indicated that FSG is “adequately capitalized.”

First Security stock, which traded as high as $12.07 per share in June 2006, fell 10 cents a share on Monday to close at 72 cents per share.

Because FSG stock has traded for the past month below $1, the Nasdaq exchange recently issued another warning that FSG stock will be delisted from Nasdaq if the company’s stock doesn’t trade above $1 a share for at least 10 consecutive days before October.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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