Chairman and president of American Heritage Bank resigns

By Jack King: CNJ staff writer

Joel Burdell has resigned as both chairman and president of American Heritage Bank, the bank’s board of directors said Wednesday.
Gordon Morris, interim president and acting chairman of the bank, said Burdell and the board came to a mutual agreement about his resignation April 8.
“For months, they’ve been discussing what the possibilities were. It was first brought up by Mr. Burdell himself,” Morris said.
Burdell did not return a phone call made to his home by press time Wednesday night.
American Heritage Bank, with a branch in Clovis and one in Melrose, continues to be under a cease and desist order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the New Mexico Financial Institutions Division, Morris said.
However, Burdell’s resignation was not related to the cease and desist order, he said.
“The cease and desist order served as a marker to look at where we are and where we want to go,” Morris said.
Burdell said in August 2003 the bank signed an agreement with the federal and state agencies in June 2003 that outlined steps it would take to correct problems discovered in a regular bank examination in December 2002.
He blamed the problems on a former assistant vice president at American Heritage who, he said, did not follow the bank’s lending and collections policies. The employee was terminated in January 2003, he said.
Morris said he wouldn’t disclose the details of Burdell’s discussions with the board, but added:
“There was no insider abuse. He was not fired. We’re still well capitalized and will continue to grow and meet the needs of people in Clovis and Melrose.”
Although he has relinquished his management duties, Burdell, a founder of the bank, will continue to be a shareholder, according to a press release from the bank.