Two top execs out at DNB First, Chester County's biggest bank

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DNB First is the largest bank based in Chester County, the Commonwealth’s richest county.

Two senior officers — chief banking officer Vince Liuzzi and executive vice president and chief business lender Christopher P. McGill — have departed DNB Financial Corp., the Downingtown-based company that operates DNB First (the former Downingtown National Bank).

“We remain focused on our current strategy,” said Jonathan McGrain, senior vice president of marketing. He noted the bank boosted loans by a net $18 million, or more than 2 percent, in the first quarter of 2018.

In a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 6, DNB said it had accepted the resignation of McGill, effective June 15, so he may “pursue other business opportunities.” His interim replacement is C. Tomlinson Kline III, while the bank seeks a permanent replacement.

McGill quit two years after DNB bought the Philadelphia bank he headed, East River Bank, which boosted DNB’s loans and investments to about $1.1 billion. That makes DNB the largest bank based in Chester County, the richest of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

The deal was closed three months after the death of DNB chairman William Latoff, who had hired a string of veteran bankers to expand DNB with new development and business loans after the 2008 recession. Before East River, McGill and members of his family controlled the former Roxborough/Manayunk Bank, which they sold to Citizens Bank in 2003.

McGill’s departure follows DNB’s “elimination” of the chief banking officer job held by Liuzzi, which DNB announced May 24. Liuzzi will receive $433,500 in severance pay, plus 7,100 shares worth a little more than $250,000, DNB said. Having a CBO as well as a CEO was an innovation of Latoff’s, a practice now ending under current CEO Bill Hieb.

Liuzzi had joined DNB from Wells Fargo, which put Liuzzi in charge of 170 Philadelphia-area branches, making him a top banker at the region’s dominant bank, in 2009. He had earlier worked for Wells Fargo in the Los Angeles area. In his previous investment career, Arizona regulators ordered him to pay $1.25 million in 1996 to settle a case for selling what the state said were unregistered investments for Cactus Town, a fast-food chain.

DNB’s home-county market share of nearly 5 percent, as of last year, was up slightly from five years earlier, according to FDIC records, though Chester County depositors still have more money with several large out-of-state-based lenders, including Wells Fargo and BB&T.

DNB shares closed Monday at $35.75, trading near their all-time high of $37.15 in March. The company went public in 1999. DNB reported record first-quarter profits of $2.6 million, or 67 cents a share, earlier this year. Most of the company’s loans are to businesses, and are secured by property.

In its most recent report to the SEC, DNB complained that regulatory restrictions make it tough to grow. Many banks its size have chosen to be acquired by larger competitors in recent years, sometimes at the urging of investors who hope to cash out their shares at a premium to recent trading prices.