Meta names new CEO

Oct. 31, 2018

There’s a new CEO of Sioux Falls-based Meta Financial Group.

Tyler Haahr has stepped down and has been replaced by Brad Hanson, who was president of Meta Financial Group.

“It has been an honor to lead this great company over the past 13 years and to be a part of its growth story for more than 20 years,” Haahr said in a statement.

“I am proud to have played a role in taking good care of our employees and customers, and advancing our vision of financial inclusion for everyone. I look forward to assisting Brad and the board during this transition and watching Meta continue to thrive for decades to come.”

Meta began as Haahr’s family business. Its roots are in northwest Iowa, where his grandfather founded the business as Storm Lake Savings & Loan in 1954.

Five years ago, the company’s market capitalization was $90 million. It ended trading Monday at $939.1 million.

“The timing was right,” Haahr said in an interview. “I just feel really good about where we are right now.”

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Meta recently completed a major acquisition of Michigan-based Crestmark Bancorp – a lender with a national platform for commercial and industrial lending.

Haahr has focused in recent months on seeing that deal through, adding to his executive team and transitioning some of his duties to other leaders.

It all positions Meta well going forward, he said.

“If you look back in the rear-view mirror, it makes a lot more sense,” he said. “I still love the company. I’m a big shareholder. I’ve told (leadership) if you need anything from me pick up the phone and call, and I’m happy to help out.”

Hanson joined Meta in 2004 and helped launch the payments side of the business.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve our company in this new role and gratified by the board’s confidence in me,” Hanson said in a statement. “I am excited to lead our talented team as we continue to execute on our strategic initiatives. Given Meta’s strong financial position and diverse and growing suite of products and services, I am confident we are well-positioned to create an even better future for our employees, partners, customers and shareholders.”

Haahr will remain board chairman through the company’s annual meeting in January 2019. Frederick Moore, lead director and vice chairman, has been appointed chairman following the meeting.

“On behalf of the board and the entire Meta team, I want to thank Tyler for his service and many contributions to the company,” Moore said. “Under Tyler’s leadership, Meta has experienced tremendous growth, strengthened its platform through innovation and diversification, and delivered significant value for shareholders.”

Hanson “is a key architect of Meta’s success and a proven leader in the financial services industry,” Moore said. “Under his leadership, Meta will continue to build on the company’s recent accomplishments and leverage its strong platform in the years ahead.”

The CEO announcement came as Meta released its annual earnings.

Net income grew to $51.6 million, or $1.67 per share, from $44.9 million, or $1.61 per share, in the prior year.

The fourth quarter beat analysts’ estimates at $870,000 in net income, or 24 cents per share, compared with $1.7 million, or 6 cents per share, for the same time last year.

All share and per-share data has been adjusted to reflect the 3-for-1 forward stock split that occurred Oct. 4.

Based on company guidance issued with the earnings, its current approximate share price of $24 could double in a year.

“The company is positioned as best it’s ever been, and it’s going to be successful,” Haahr said.

“I appreciate all the support the team has given me and the community has given me, and I look forward to following Meta’s success in the future.”

He said he plans to take up to a year after ending his time at Meta to travel and spend time with his family.

Haahr plans to stay in Sioux Falls and sees himself eventually getting into something new professionally.

“I don’t know what that is or if it will be in banking or won’t be in banking,” he said. “It’s just time to recharge the batteries and enjoy some things I haven’t been able to do for a while. My health is good, so that’s not an issue. And that’s part of why I want to do it, so I can travel and can do things. We’ve been successful, and I’m going to go enjoy some of that and go from there.”

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Meta names new CEO

There’s a new CEO of Sioux Falls-based Meta Financial Group.

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