Risk & Compliance

Eagle Bancorp CFO Faces SEC Probe

The commission has notified Charles Levingston of possible charges but he will continue to serve as finance chief.
Matthew HellerJuly 23, 2021

Eagle Bancorp CFO Charles Levingston appears to have the support of the company’s board as he faces a possible enforcement action by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC has indicated its staff made a preliminary determination to recommend charges against Levingston by sending him a so-called Wells notice. The parent company of EagleBank disclosed the notice Wednesday in an earnings release.

But Eagle Bancorp CEO Susan Riel said Thursday that the board had decided to have Levingston continue to serve as CFO.

“The board’s top priority is, as it always has been, to act in the best interest of the company and the company’s stockholders, and we, and the board, remain confident in the company’s disclosure controls, accuracy of its financial reporting, and the professionalism of the company’s finance function and personnel,” she said in an earnings call.

Levingston has been with the Bethesda, Md., bank since 2012 and previously worked as a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Philadelphia.

The earnings release did not specify what allegations Levingston might be facing but said he had received the Wells notice in connection with an SEC investigation that Eagle first disclosed in July 2019.

The bank has “initiated discussions with the staff about a potential resolution or settlement of the staff’s investigation with respect to the company” and “any current employees and directors,” the release said.

According to American Banker, the SEC has been investigating Eagle’s ties to former District of Columbia Councilman Jack Evans, who allegedly lobbied for legislation that would be favorable to Eagle after the bank hired him as a consultant. He also owned Eagle shares.

Eagle’s co-founder and former CEO Ron Paul abruptly retired in March 2019, citing health problems.

“The company believes [the investigation] relate[s] to the company’s identification, classification and disclosure of related party transactions; the retirement of certain former officers and directors; and the relationship of the company and certain of its former officers and directors with a local public official, among other things,” the earnings release stated.

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