Next Friday (12.15.23) is options expiration. As things look now we will be selling some of our remaining Washington DC community banks (EGBN, AUB) that we sold calls on in the last couple of months. Readers of our books remember we bought these banks back when we were acquiring Washington area real estate. Always good to own banks you are borrowing from. Because we continue to dispose of those properties the incentive to own those banks is diminished. We also expect our MCY to be called away. MCY is a fallen Dividend Champion and we have been selling calls ever since they reduced their dividend. That’s what we do when a Champion loses its Champion status; we sell out of the money calls until the price strikes.
We still own some Washington banks like SASR but that may sell soon. We have invested in a Washington start up named Trustar. That bank is not public yet. Trustar is doing great and we buy more when we exercise our warrants later this year. We may also buy more at any additional private offerings. Trustar does not yet pay a dividend which is the only non dividend paying business we own. The founders have a great record of growing de novo banks around Washington so we will stick with them for now.
All of that to say our margin account will likely be reduced or paid off next Friday. We will also be offering some additional real estate for sale on 1.1.24. Of course, we don’t control when the sales will settle and we get access to the additional capital. So we will be meeting by phone this weekend to discuss resuming selling out of the money puts. We likely will be very cautious considering the high cost of margin debt and our view of the currently high political risks around the world.
Watch this space for any decisions made with regard to resuming trading.