Carl W. Stearn, Provident Bankshares Corp.'s chairman and chief executive officer, presided over his final annual meeting yesterday after an eventful eight years at the helm during which he turned the once-struggling thrift into a thriving bank with more than $4 billion in assets.
Stearn, 65, showed little emotion during the meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes and was attended by about 60 shareholders and employees at the company's Baltimore headquarters office.
"It is a normal course; people retire," Stearn said after the meeting. "It is up to Pete now."
Stearn was succeeded by Peter M. Martin, Provident's president and chief operating officer. Stearn will, however, be employed as a consultant to Provident and remain on the Baltimore-based banking company's board for three years.
Provident also released financial results for the first quarter ended March 31. The bank
said its net income rose 17.4 percent to $9.3 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with net income of $7.9 million, or 35 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier.
Provident's board raised the first-quarter cash dividend a half a cent to 13 cents a share and declared a 5 percent stock dividend.
Martin said he will make few changes as chairman and chief executive, but the bank will begin offering consumers a variety of insurance products, including property and casualty and life. He will continue to open branches in grocery stores, and the bank plans to finance leasing transactions, he said.
Despite the surge of mergers in the banking industry, Martin said, he wants Provident to remain independent. He and Stearn have said in the past, however, that they would have to take an attractive offer to the bank's board for review.
Stearn and Martin, both former executives of Equitable Bancorporation, which was acquired by MNC Financial Inc., took charge of Provident in 1990, when it was suffering from souring commercial real estate, auto and business loans.
The duo stabilized Provident, and the bank grew from $1.3 billion in assets with 38 branches to more than $4 billion with 69 branches.
Provident is the state's second largest independent banking company behind Mercantile Bankshares Corp.
Provident shares fell 87.5 cents to $34.375 yesterday.
Pub Date: 4/16/98