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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of August 7 - 13, 2002


CEO Lovell is discharged by First Bank of Idaho

"I see the continuation of emphasis and focus on being a community bank."

— PETER MINFORD, First Bank of Idaho, executive vice-president

Express Staff Writer

The chairman and chief executive officer of Wood River Valley-based First Bank of Idaho, Greg Lovell, was fired by company directors two weeks ago and asked to leave the bank’s administrative headquarters in Ketchum under security provided by a plain-clothed city policeman.

Peter Minford, executive vice-president of First Bank of Idaho and its parent company Sun Valley Bancorp, said Monday that Lovell was asked to leave the Main Street Ketchum branch Wednesday, July 24, after directors informed Lovell at a company board meeting that he was being dismissed.

Minford declined to discuss the reasons for Lovell’s discharge, but noted that the former CEO left the scene without incident. He said Lovell and company directors "had decided to part ways," primarily as a result of a "difference of opinion" on how the bank should be managed.

Lovell was the chairman and CEO of Sun Valley Bancorp, which owns and operates First Bank of Idaho as its sole subsidiary. First Bank of Idaho was established in 1997, and Sun Valley Bancorp was founded as its parent company in 1999.

Minford explained that bank officials asked for a city policeman to preside over Lovell’s exit from the bank as part of a "routine procedure" for terminating high-level employees. He said the bank "had to rely on external resources" because it does not employ its own internal security department.

"No issues arose that would have necessitated any involvement by the police," he said.

Minford said no criminal charges had been filed against Lovell, who in 1997 was one of the co-founders of First Bank of Idaho.

Ketchum Chief of Police Callan Nevland said this week that a city police officer was dispatched to the First Bank office in Ketchum as part of a "civil standby" procedure, in which an officer presides over a potentially dangerous civilian matter. "It’s done in a situation that could be emotional, mainly to keep the peace and make sure that nobody makes a mistake in a heated situation," he said.

Minford said bank officials have not replaced Lovell, but "are engaged in a search for a new CEO."

He said a team of bank executives is currently managing the duties of the CEO position, and bank operations have not been hindered by Lovell’s departure. "It’s business as usual here," he said. "We’re making loans and taking deposits."

First Bank of Idaho operates three branches in the Wood River Valley, located in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue. The bank also owns and operates a branch in Jackson, Wyo., called First Bank Advisors.

Minford said First Bank of Idaho retains a roughly 40 percent share of the banking market in the Wood River Valley. The company has approximately 250 shareholders, and employs 63 employees in the Wood River Valley and Wyoming.

Minford noted that despite the division between Lovell and bank directors, First Bank of Idaho has experienced substantial growth in assets in the last year. The company on June 30 calculated its assets at $157 million, up roughly 25 percent from $124 million at the close of the second quarter one year ago, he said.

Minford said the bank has also seen growth in loan accounts and deposits in the last year.

Minford added that there will be no noticeable change in services at the local First Bank of Idaho branches—or dramatic changes in corporate philosophy—as a result of Lovell’s firing. "I see the continuation of emphasis and focus on being a community bank," he said.

Lovell, who resides in Hailey, could not be reached for comment.



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