- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Last week's firing of Mark Anders, president of Annapolis Bancorp Inc. and its subsidiary BankAnnapolis, has had little impact on the company's stock.
"We saw some increase in the trading volume last week, but nothing too significant that would change the price," which closed yesterday at $5.74, up 3 cents from last week, said Richard Lerner, new president of BankAnnapolis and CEO of the banking company.
Mr. Anders was fired over a conflicting opinion with the board of directors on the roles both played in corporate governance, Mr. Lerner said, who would not go into further detail.
Mr. Lerner's transition from a full-time board member for Annapolis Bancorp to president of the company, which he previously served in 1999, was key in not disrupting day-to-day operations and customer relations, said Lewis Sosnowik, vice president of bank securities at Koonce Securities Inc.
"The company has gotten back on track by having the president and board of directors in sync with each other, reassuring investors and customers," Mr. Sosnowik said, noting the brokerage firm in Bethesda owns and sells Annapolis Bancorp stock.
Higher earnings at $230,000 (7 cents per diluted share) for the second quarter ended June 30, compared with $48,000 (2 cents) a year earlier also helped stabilize stock prices and allowed the company to develop plans to add branches to the current five offices in Annapolis and Anne Arundel county, Mr. Sosnowik said.
"The bank is in a very affluent area and able to attract the kind of customer that comes in and takes out a loan to buy a $49,000 boat," Mr. Sosnowik said. "As long as they remain well-managed and capitalize on that market, they should show a steady increase in their stock and earnings."
Jim Gibbons, an investment executive for the Annapolis branch of Ferris Baker Watts, said it was too early to see the effects of changing presidents for the company.
"Their stock prices are looking pretty steady despite the changes they've made in higher-up positions, and that's a positive sign," Mr. Gibbons said, adding that his company covers and recommends the stock to investors. "The news definitely took the market by surprise, and most buyers aren't comfortable with a company that makes these sort of changes."
But filling the position with Mr. Lerner gave the company an upper-hand in controlling investor doubt, Mr. Gibbons said.
"Rick has been in the position before on a temporary basis, so he knows the management and where the company is going, and that really reassures the customers and employees," he said.
Mr. Lerner said he plans to serve as president indefinitely, depending on upcoming discussions with the board. His main goal now is to build the company off the steady revenue and earnings growth it has experienced in the last two years.
"We've had strong overhead growth over the past year, even with changes made last week, that's kept our profits stable and increased our customer base," he said. "We want to expand on our existing strengths and get past last week's upheaval."


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