'Last man standing' Shamey to leave Butler-based NexTier Bank

| Friday, June 6, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

Don Shamey and his wife, Susan, were reminiscing about changes in banking — companies that don't exist and executives who moved on.

“I'm the last man standing,” Shamey, president and CEO of Butler-based NexTier Bank, recalled thinking. “Maybe that's a signal, too.”

Shamey, 64, will retire on July 31, ending a 40-year career with the bank. The company is poised to merge with Farmers & Merchants of Western PA, based in Kittanning.

“What I'll miss most, without a doubt, is all the wonderful people I worked with over the years,” he said. “They are dedicated, loyal, talented.”

NexTier was founded in 1878 in Evans City as J&E Dambach Bank. It went through several name changes by the time Shamey, a New Kensington native, joined in 1974 when it was Citizens National Bank.

Shamey started in the Zelienople branch and, within a year, was named cashier, the equivalent of chief financial officer. By 1991, he was president; he became CEO in 2000. He regained the second title of president last year.

He helped steer the bank through troubled times.

In 2001, Mellon Financial Corp. sold its retail bank franchise to Citizens Financial Group, and Citizens Bank sued the Butler bank to give up its name.

After nearly four years in federal court, the two sides settled out of court and the Butler bank became NexTier.

The bank's loan portfolio was strained under the mortgage and credit crises in the late 2000s. It began seeking a buyer. A deal with Northwest Bancshares in Warren collapsed in late 2010.

The Snyder Group, a Kittanning-based business group, acquired a controlling stake in NexTier in 2011 and the bank quickly returned to profitability.

“The regulatory burden has increased,” Shamey said. “The camaraderie of the industry is pretty much gone. It's competitive and cutthroat now.”

Richard Krauland, president and CEO of Farmers & Merchants, will assume the leadership role on Aug. 1. Shamey said Krauland is expected to lead the company after the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter of the year.

That will give the bank 24 locations in Butler, Armstrong and northern Allegheny counties, with assets of more than $1 billion, according to NexTier.

NexTier Chairman Mark Snyder said the board of directors recognized Shamey's leadership during a challenging period for the company and industry.

“We are grateful that Don chose to stay on board to lead NexTier back to a profitable and operationally sound organization and help facilitate the successful merger,” Snyder said in a statement.

Bill Vidonic is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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