Bank OZK (OZK) Accused of Misleading Investors
According to the derivative complaint against the company’s officers and directors for breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and violations of state and federal laws beginning February 19, 2016, Bank OZK (OZK) growth has historically been supported by its non-purchased loan portfolio, attributable to its Real Estate Specialties Group, which focused on commercial real estate and acquisition and development lending. In 2017, OZK’s officers and directors knew or recklessly disregarded that its loans related to projects in South Carolina and North Carolina (“the Loans”) were continuously underperforming and had been in continuing default. Rather than disclose the underperformance of the Loans to investors, OZK’s officers and directors masked the Loans’ underperformance by granting concessions or extending their maturity dates, thereby allowing OZK’s filings with the SEC to have materially understated its nonperforming loans and assets. Despite efforts to hide its losses, on October 18, 2018, OZK admitted that it lost $45.5 million on the Loans. On this news, OZK share price fell $10.87, almost 30%, to close at $25.52, and has yet to recover.