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St. Pete bank hits key milestone

Margie Manning

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First Home Bank in downtown St. Petersburg

Investors will be able to more easily trade stock in First Home Bancorp Inc., the St. Petersburg-based bank holding company for First Home Bank.

First Home qualified to trade on the OTCQX Best Market, an upgrade from the Pink market. The bank’s stock began trading Monday under the symbol FHBI. The stock was trading at $14 a share as of Monday morning.

The promotion to the OTCQX market is one of several advances for First Home Bank, which crossed the $1 billion asset threshold earlier this year and also moved up in deposit market share in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro market.

“Moving to the OTCQX Market is a huge step forward for our shareholders, and our company,” said Anthony Leo, First Home CEO. “As one of the only actively traded bank holding companies based in the Tampa Bay region, this gives us better access to capital markets and greater strategic optionality. Perhaps most importantly, it will enhance our ability to be ‘here for what’s next’ with our customers.”

D. A. Davidson & Co. acted as the company’s OTCQX sponsor.

A handful of other local community banks also trade on the OTCQX, including First Citrus Bancorp (FCIT) and Pilot Bancshares (PLBN), both based in Tampa.

Graduating to the OTCQX Market marks an important milestone for community banks in the U.S. public markets, a news release said.

The OTCQX Market provides transparent trading and easy access to company information for shareholders, which allows those listed on the exchange to maximize the value of being publicly traded. To qualify for OTCQX, community banks must meet high financial standards, follow best practice corporate governance and demonstrate compliance with applicable securities laws, the news release said.

After the sale of St. Petersburg-based Freedom Bank to Seacoast Bank in Stuart, Florida last month, First Home Bank became the only community bank headquartered in St. Petersburg.

Raymond James Bank, part of Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF), is a St. Petersburg-based bank, but with $33.6 billion in assets it is not considered a community bank.

First Home Bank broke through the $1 billion asset threshold during the second quarter of 2020. It was an active participant in the Paycheck Protection Program, making $810 million in loans under the Covid-19 relief effort.

The bank currently has $1.5 billion in total assets, six full-service offices and 27 mortgage loan production offices. It is among the largest Small Business Administration lenders nationwide.

First Home Bank also gained market share in the past year, according to newly released statistics from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which annually ranks banks based on their deposits in specific markets. As of June 30, First Home Bank was No. 22 among 57 institutions with an office in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan market, with 0.49 percent deposit market share.

That’s up from 0.38 percent deposit market share a year earlier, when the bank ranked No. 26 among 55 institutions with an office in the metro area.

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