From what I was able to gather at the annual meeting, management believes that their conservative style will mean underperformance relative to risk takers during good times, but they will not be wiped out when the cycle turns, as it invariably does in home lending.
If you look at the last ten years their consistancy of earnings in good times and bad is reassuring.
Your observation is astute and adds depth to my understanding of the "Pohlad" connection to this story. I agree with your "double-dip" philosophy as being the superior alternative in this scenerio.
It would appear to me that HMNF shareholders have achieved an excellent return on their investment with the current strategy in place. As I stated, (in my humble opinion) the conservative management style is best suited for the type of busisness that HMNF is involved in.
While shareholders will always push for top returns, I believe that the "quality" of the return also counts. It is my opinion that some banks and thrifts have "almost" forgotten the painful lessons of the S&L crisis. In their rush to acquire at any cost and "grow" their business, some may risk a bit too much while reaching for reward.
The banking consolidation process will continue. I believe that HMNF is well managed and will be well positioned for what ever opportunities are afforded them.
If you look at the Pohlad brother's recent filing showing they have exceeded 5% ownership, you will notice that their cost basis is in the very low teens, meaning they would have bought their stake around 1994.
What is new then is not their position in the stock, but that they are now working together, possibly intending to take an activist role or merge the bank into Marquette, which would seem like a logical fit for them. However, since Marquette is privately owned it would mean the end of the ride for current HMNF shareholders, who wouldn't benefit from a double dip if HMNF was acquired and then the acquirer in turn bought out.
I think shareholders should give this conservative management team time to build book value until it is bought by another publicly traded company so that shareholders can benefit from the consolidation of the industry.
So what have you been hearing? Are you referring to the La Salle Group's stated intention of placing a person on HMNF's board? By the time the Annual Meeting was held, their guy was no longer attempting to get a seat on the board. La Salle has a chunk of stock, but, they would either have to accumulate a bunch more or have an institution who is holding a lot of stock tie in with them. Does Heartland out of Milwaukee still have some stock? What do you hear?
I do not know what LaSalle is planning. Check out the current postings at the Schedule 13D filing at the SEC. http://edgar-online.com It appears that James Pohlad, Robert Pohlad, Wm. Pohlad & Texas Financial Bancorporation, Inc. purchased 300,000 shares. (FYI the Pohlad's are associated with the Marquette Banks in MN. It would be interesting to know what kind of history the Pohlad's have with bank M & A .
I wish the management at HMN would get its act together with investor relations & shareholder communication. What's up with the stock split & dividend?