Norcross Braca Group to put $35M into Republic Bank, make Philip Norcross chair

As part of a continuing effort to rebuild Republic Bank and parent Republic First Bancorp, the Norcross Braca Group announced Friday that it is making a $35 million investment in a securities purchasing agreement and adding three members to the board, including Philip Norcross, who will serve as chair.

Upon closing of the new investment, which is subject to regulatory approval and other conditions related to the company, the remainder of the previously announced $75 million to $100 million capital raise will commence.

The company’s board now will consist of seven members:

Incumbents Thomas Geisel (the bank’s CEO), Benjamin Duster IV and Peter B. Bartholow, as well as Norcross, Greg Braca and two new independent directors.

Legacy directors Andrew Cohen, Harry Madonna, Harris Wildstein and Lisa Jacobs will all depart the board.

Investor George Norcross said the announcement is a big day for the bank.

“As we said when we first announced we had taken a stake in Republic First more than 18 months ago: We believe that, with proper board leadership and a focus on improving operations, the company can provide great service to its customers and depositors as well as value to its shareholders,” he said. “This investment and new leadership on the board is the next step of what will be the new Republic First.”

Geisel agreed, calling it an important milestone that will strengthen the bank’s balance sheet and improve its operations.

“We look forward to having the benefit of Phil’s and Greg’s expertise in the boardroom as we work together to enhance value for all stakeholders and chart Republic First’s future,” he said.

The deal comes after the bank’s acknowledgment this summer that it was in talks with the group led by George Norcross regarding an equity investment and a broader capital raise.

Shares of Republic First, which has cut jobs this year to reduce costs and exited its mortgage origination business, were delisted from the Nasdaq in August and now trade on the over-the-counter marketplace, Reuters reported.