Daily News: September 12, 2013

Atlantic Coast Financial Names Stephens President, CEO

Atlantic Coast Financial, the holding company for Atlantic Coast Bank, announced that its board of directors named John K. Stephens president and chief executive officer of Atlantic Coast Financial and Atlantic Coast Bank, contingent upon receipt of regulatory non-objection from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Stephens will replace Thomas B. Wagers, Sr., who has served as Interim president and chief executive officer since July 2013.

Stephens is a 23-year veteran of the banking and financial services industry. From 2006 to 2011, he served as chief lending officer for the Central and North Florida affiliate banks of Fifth Third Bank, overseeing a loan portfolio of almost $2 billion and responsible for strategic leadership for all wholesale banking activities.

Stephens began his career in 1986 with Wachovia Bank, where he started as a regional banking officer, later became a relationship manager responsible for originating and managing senior debt and ancillary service relationships with corporate clients, and was ultimately selected to start and lead a leveraged finance group.

Most recently, Stephens served as president of Orlando, FL-based Tower Bridge Capital Inc.

Jay Sidhu, who led the CEO search committee for the company, said, “Our board is very excited that John has accepted our invitation to lead the company as its CEO, and we believe all of our constituents — shareholders, customers and employees — will be equally excited once they get to know him. John is a proven leader who brings significant banking experience to our company, including working in our northeast Florida market. During his more than 23 years in the financial industry, he has been a key player in all aspects of the banking industry, advancing to virtually every critical position in a bank’s structure. We expect his diverse experience and excellent track record to be invaluable to Atlantic Coast Financial as we continue to develop and implement our strategic initiatives.”

In commenting on his new position, Stephens added, “I am indeed honored to become part of the Atlantic Coast Financial management team. I am impressed by the Company’s potential, the markets in which it operates and the opportunities they present, as well as the energy and commitment demonstrated by the entire team to strengthening the company’s capital structure and building Atlantic Coast Bank’s community banking model. I look forward to working with such a talented team of management and associates to build a strong future for the company.”