By Peninsula Daily News staff
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First Federal Announces New CEO
Port Angeles, WA (March 27, 2013) – The Board of Directors of First Federal announced the appointment of Larry Hueth as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Hueth brings nearly 30 years of banking experience to First Federal.
Mr. Hueth has been serving as the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer since December 19, 2012 and was First Federal's Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer/Chief Risk Officer prior to this appointment.
Mr. Hueth was elected to First Federal's Board of Directors in December 2010 and will continue to serve in that capacity.
Mr. Hueth earned a degree in Business Administration/Accounting from California State University, Long Beach, CA. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Bankers School and University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Mr. Hueth and his wife live in Sequim, WA. He has actively participated in various community activities, including Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County, the Finance Committee for the Olympic Christian School, and the Entrepreneur Challenge sponsored by the Clallam Business Incubator.
Richard G. Kott, Chairman of the Board of Directors said, “The Board of Directors is pleased to have selected Mr. Hueth to lead the bank.
"Mr. Hueth is developing a cohesive management team to meet the financial needs and expectations of our customers.
"With his balanced blend of financial expertise and leadership qualities, the Board is confident that he will continue to guide First Federal in a positive and successful direction.”
Mr. Hueth has named Regina M. Wood to the position of Chief Financial Officer.
Ms. Wood lives in Port Angeles and has been Controller at First Federal since 2006.
Prior to moving to Port Angeles, Ms. Wood was the Controller at Central Washington Grain Growers, Inc., a cooperative in North Central Washington.
She has a B.S. and an MBA in Accounting and is a licensed CPA in the State of Washington. Ms. Wood is a recent graduate of the Washington Bankers Association Executive Development Program.
She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Financial Managers Society.
Ms. Wood received the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant from the AICPA in 2012.
Mr. Hueth also named Ed Brady as Chief Risk Officer in addition to his position as the Bank Security and Compliance Officer.
Mr. Brady joined First Federal in 2004 as the Security Manager and BSA Officer. Mr. Brady is a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM), through the Institute of Certified Bankers, and is a member of the Washington Bankers Association (WBA) Compliance Committee and the WBA Protection Committee. He is currently attending the WBA's Executive Development Program.
First Federal has been strengthening our communities for 90 years! The only locally owned and managed bank on the Olympic Peninsula, First Federal has been voted Best Place to Bank for 17 consecutive years in the Peninsula Daily News poll.
This is because of our dedication to serving local communities as well as providing the finest in products and services.
Hueth had been appointed interim president and CEO by the bank's board of directors last December after Levon L. Mathews abruptly resigned from those posts.
Heuth's appointment was made permanent in recent action by First Federal's board, the bank said in a statement released at the end of the business day Thursday.
Hueth has nearly 30 years of banking experience and joined First Federal in December 2008. He was elected executive vice president and chief financial officer in February 2009 and joined the board of directors in 2010.
He assumed the additional responsibility of chief risk officer in 2011 and that of chief operating officer in 2012.
Hueth, a 50-year-old California native, and his wife, Cyndi, live in Sequim.
Hueth has named Regina M. Woods as the savings bank's chief financial officer and Ed Brady as chief risk officer, the bank said in Thursday's announcement.
Resignations in December
The bank announced the resignations of Mathews and Gina E. Lowman, First Federal's chief banking officer and senior vice president, the same day, Dec. 21. Mathews had been appointed president/CEO in September 2009.
Bank board of directors Chairman Richard Kott said that Lowman's resignation was not related to Mathews' resignation.
Lowman said Dec. 22 that she had been gone from the bank the third week of November 2012 and had left to spend more time with her family. She said the announcement of both resignations at the same time was “purely coincidental.”
Kott said later that Mathews' resignation “has nothing to do with the financial condition of the bank.”
Kott would not comment on whether the board of directors had asked Mathews to resign. Mathews was also a member of the board.
Employees who asked not to be named told the Peninsula Daily News that Mathews' departure had been preceded by an investigation by an outside human-resources expert and that the investigation had been prompted by letters written by First Federal employees to Kott and other members of the bank's board of directors.
Both Lowman and Kott said they couldn't confirm that report. Hueth said he had no comment.
Mathews, reached in Indiana by the PDN, said that he also had no comment on the report of an investigation. He said he retired for personal reasons having to do with his family business, Mathews Farm Buildings of Frankfort, Ind.
Delay in bank's conversion
Kott said in December that the resignations would delay First Federal's plans to convert from a mutual, or depositor-owned, organization to a shareholder company that will sell stock because the bank now needed to establish a new and "cohesive" executive team.
Plans by First Federal to convert to a shareholder company were announced by Mathews and Kott in May 2012 and follow a national trend in which mutuals like First Federal have converted to stock ownership to raise millions of dollars in new capital.
Common stock would be sold first to First Federal's depositors and then, if shares are still available, to the general public.
The plans had been under review by state and federal bank regulators and will need to be presented to the bank's depositors.
There was nothing in Thursday's announcement about the status of the conversion plans.
First Federal is the only locally owned community bank on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The 90-year-old bank is based in Port Angeles and has branches there and in Forks, Sequim, Port Townsend and in the Kitsap County city of Poulsbo. It also has a lending center in Bellingham in Whatcom County.
Its total assets have grown from $388.6 million in 1996 to $716.6 million in 2009 to about $781.8 million as of Sept. 30, 2012. It is the state's 18th largest bank, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.
In a January interview with the PDN, Hueth said First Federal had more than 170 employees and annually pours $12 million to $13 million into communities in Clallam and Jefferson counties in payroll, community support and payments to vendors.
Previous PDN stories:
("First Federal realigning in wake of resignations and retirements; interim chief in line to take helm" — http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130106/NEWS/301069986
("Back home in Indiana: Ex-First Federal CEO says he quit for personal reasons connected with family business" — http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130106/news/301069985
("First Federal's CEO and president abruptly resigns; chief banking officer has also departed" — http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20121223/NEWS/312239985 )