Bank of Choice names new CEO to replace Darrell McAllister
October 21, 2010
Greeley-based Bank of Choice, one of several banks in the region placed under federal regulatory order, has named Joseph Bonner as chief executive officer for the Bank of Choice Holding Company and its affiliated banks, the bank announced Thursday.
Effective today, Bonner will replace Darrell McAllister, who has served as CEO and chairman of the board for the holding company since 2003. Thomas Roche, a current bank director and president and CEO of Roche Constructors Inc., will replace McAllister as chairman of the board for the Bank of Choice Holding Company.
Most recently, Bonner served as senior consultant at Credit Risk Management, LLC, a Raleigh, N.C.-based community bank consulting firm. He spent a decade providing strategic guidance to more than 170 community banking clients ranging in size from $20 million to $5 billion.
Reached by phone in North Carolina – he was to leave for Greeley this morning – Bonner said McAllister guided Bank of Choice to strong growth while building the company’s franchise. Bank of Choice became Greeley’s largest locally owned bank when New Frontier Bank was shut down last year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
“I don’t think it was reasonable for anybody to have expected three or four years ago how far the industry would deteriorate and what kinds of challenges would arise,” Bonner said. “… The board (at Bank of Choice) has decided it just wants different skills for different circumstances and Darrell, as I understand it, was supportive of that.”
McAllister could not be reached for comment Thursday. In a prepared statement, he said, “I am confident Joe will be successful in leading Bank of Choice through what continues to be a challenging time in our organization’s history.”
Bonner is a regular speaker on strategies associated with the management and resolution of problem loans. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In the Navy, he has a total of 14 years of active and reserved service and he reached the rank of commander.
“The circumstances for the community banking industry are unprecedented, at least since the 1930s,” Bonner said. “We’re trying to be proactive and do everything we can to get the bank on track. It’s not going to be easy, but with challenge comes opportunity and I’m excited to get started.”
During his tenure as CEO, McAllister supervised the growth of Bank of Choice to become a full-service community bank with 17 locations, more than $1 billion in assets and more than 200 employees in Greeley, Fort Collins, Evans, Platteville, Windsor and the Denver metro area.
“Darrell McAllister is one of the finest community banking professionals in the country,” Roche said in a prepared statement. “McAllister has been instrumental in the growth and development of Bank of Choice in Colorado and we thank him for his years of leadership and service.”
In regard to the new CEO, Roche said, “Joe Bonner is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of banking experience, with the last decade directly dedicated to helping community banks reach and achieve their goals.”
Bank of Choice is one of six area banks put under regulatory order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the past year. As the economy nose-dived, the banks fell under scrutiny to raise more capital and modify lending practices.
During the past year, Bank of Choice’s assets shrunk by more than $100 million. The bank has laid off about 22 employees statewide since the beginning of the year. The bank posted losses of $51 million in 2009 and expected a loss of about $18 million this year.
Bonner, 51, said it will take some time to assess staffing resources at Bank of Choice. On the matter of the bank’s shrinking assets, he said, “I have to have a little time to figure out what our overall portfolio strategy should be.”
Besides Bank of Choice, the area banks under FDIC order are Advantage Bank out of Loveland, First National Bank in Fort Collins, Farmers Bank in Ault, Guaranty Bank out of Denver and Signature Bank of Windsor.