Here is a rundown of the high-profile investors in small U.S. banks who command attention and their investments styles.
The former banking lawyer recently agreed to buy big stakes in Liberty Bell Bank (LBBB) in New Jersey and Four Oaks Fincorp (FOFN) in North Carolina. Lehman also has large stakes in Delmar Bancorp (DBCP)in Maryland, Marine Bank & Trust in Florida and First Capital Bancorp (FCVA) in Virginia. He is an individual investor, which lets him buy large blocks of stock without having to become a bank holding company.
Brown invests in banks of various sizes including Mercantile Bank (MBWM) in Michigan and Taylor Capital (TAYC) in Illinois through his firm Second Curve Capital. He is outspoken about banks, talking up those he favors and willing to dish out critiques.
Stieven, based in St. Louis, has followed banking for three decades. His $200 million portfolio is teeming with banks, including a 9.6% stake in Anchor Bancorp (ANCB) in Washington.
A well-known activist investor, Stilwell often buys large stakes in banks and then pressures them to sell. He is trying to wrest board seats from Poage Bankshares (PBSK) in Kentucky and Harvard Illinois Bancorp (HARI).
Ross has a reputation for restructuring failed companies in industries such as textiles and steel. He started investing heavily in banks during the financial crisis. He is an investor in Sun Bancorp (SNBC) in New Jersey and recently sold large stakes in BankUnited (BKU) in Florida and Talmer Bancorp (TLMR) in Michigan.
John Palmer and Richard Lashley
PL Capital, run by Palmer and Lashley, has earned a reputation among banks as an activist investment fund, too. Palmer (pictured) recently joined the board of BankFinancial (BFIN) to settle a dispute between PL Capital and the Illinois company.
The Texas billionaire poured $500 million into Pacific Capital Bancorp in 2010, and then sold the California company to UnionBanCal two years later for $1.5 billion in cash. He now chairs Hilltop Holdings (HTH) in Dallas, which recently agreed to buy out SWS Group, the owner of a thrift with branches in Texas and New Mexico.
Carpenter, a serial bank acquirer who runs the investment firm Carpenter & Co., has a diverse array of investments, including a 79% stake in Mission Community Bank (MISN), which agreed to sell itself to another California bank, Heritage Oaks Bancorp (HEOP).
John Eggemeyer 3rd
Eggemeyer, managing principal at Castle Creek Capital, is a former American Banker Best in Banking winner who likes to make big waves in the industry. He is chairman of PacWest Bancorp (PACW) in California, which recently bought CapitalSource and now has assets of $15 billion.