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Pilot Bank makes a stock market move

Margie Manning

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Pilot Bank's St. Petersburg office is at 2180 4th St. N..

Pilot Bancshares Inc. in Tampa just graduated to the big leagues in the over-the-counter trading market.

Pilot, the parent company of Pilot Bank and National Aircraft Finance Co., moved to the OTCQX market, considered the best over-the-counter market for established, investor-focused U.S. and global companies.

Pilot previously traded on the Pink market, the lowest and most speculative tier of the of marketplaces for over-the-counter trading, according to Investopedia.

The bank retained its ticker symbol, PLBN.

Trading on the OTCQX market is a milestone for Pilot, said Roy Hellwege, chairman and CEO. Pilot was established in 1987 and had $384 million in total assets as of March 31. The bank has six offices, including its newest one in St. Petersburg that opened last year.

“In the past several years our company has experienced tremendous success in asset growth, profitability and recruitment of top tier talent. This has enabled us to further establish our company as a premier financial institution and employer,” Hellwege said.

Pilot is one of just two community banks in the Tampa-St. Pete area that trade publicly. First Citrus Bancorporation Inc., also in Tampa, trades on the Pink market with the ticker FCIT.

Trading on a public market makes it easier for companies to raise capital and increase the potential for growth and expansion, FindLaw said. Stock can be used to finance acquisitions or to provide incentive compensation. But it’s also costly to provide the disclosure required for a publicly-traded security.

“Upgrading to the OTCQX Market will enable Pilot Bancshares to provide a transparent public market for its new and existing shareholders,” Jason Paltrowitz, executive vice president of corporate services at OTC Markets Group, said in a news release.

FIG Partners acted as the company’s corporate broker.

Pilot stock opened at $3.39 a share Thursday morning.

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