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Ex-Five Star CEO urges bank to consider sale

Peter G. Humphrey, whose family was instrumental in the history of Five Star Bank’s growth, now wants the parent company’s board to consider a sale.

Humphrey, the former CEO, recently released a statement that said he was “an advocate for (Financial Institutions Inc.) to explore creating additional value for its shareholders through a strategic combination with a larger banking organization at an attractive price reflecting the value that (Financial Institutions) can bring to the combined organization,” according to a report in American Banker.

Humphrey also said the Warsaw-based bank “has a superb franchise and is a valuable organization.”

His statement came about a month after a Texas-based shareholder, Clover Partners LP, wrote a letter urging the bank’s board to stop making acquisitions and to sell itself to a larger bank. Managing partner Johnny Guerry criticized the bank’s deals for Amherst-based insurance agency Scott Danahy Naylon and Courier Capital, which has offices in Buffalo and Jamestown. He contended both deals dilute shareholder value and that their earn-back periods were too long.

For Financial Institutions, the two deals reflected its push to diversify its sources of income and to make greater inroads in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Humphrey previously served as president and CEO of Warsaw-based Five Star and its parent, Financial Institutions Inc. He was the fourth-generation member of his family to lead the bank.

Humphrey suddenly retired as president and CEO in August 2012. He remained on the board of directors, but when his term expired in 2014, he was not nominated for re-election. (A cousin of his, James H. Wyckoff, remains on the board.)

Humphrey did not return a message to comment on Monday. While he is no longer an executive or a board member, he remains a shareholder. In his statement, Humphrey said he and his wife control about 3.5 percent of the company’s stock, according to American Banker.