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Results Due Next Week in F&M Director Vote

March 19, 2004|James F. Peltz

Shareholders of Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach met to decide a proxy fight between factions of the bank's controlling Walker family, but results won't be announced for another week, a lawyer for one of the dissident shareholders said.

Investors at the annual meeting voted on a slate of seven directors for the bank's board, which has been led by Daniel Walker, the bank's chairman and an executive vice president. His father, Kenneth Walker, is chief executive and president of the closely held bank.

But Marcus Walker, one of Kenneth Walker's nephews, is leading a group of dissident stockholders who nominated two candidates of their own for the board. The group is pressing the 97-year-old bank to split its stock, raise its dividend and provide investors with more financial data.

The meeting was recessed until March 25 when the tally will be announced, said Marcus Walker's lawyer, Ken Roberts. "We're highly confident we have enough votes to elect at least one of our nominees."

The bank, with $2.8 billion in assets, has 18 offices in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

James F. Peltz

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