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Signature Bank Expands Into New Specialty Finance Markets

July 11, 2014, 07:44 AM

Signature Bank announced its specialty finance subsidiary, Signature Financial LLC, will begin offering direct finance services for both the franchise and commercial marine industries on a national basis.

Signature Financial's franchise business will provide financing to franchise operators across a variety of national and regional restaurant concepts and chains, such as those engaged in fast-casual and family-oriented restaurant businesses.

Its commercial marine unit will specialize in the financing of commercial vessels, including supply ships, tug boats, barges and commercial passenger transport vessels.

Heading efforts for the franchise business is John R. Black, a franchise financing expert with 33 years of industry-related experience. In his new role as National Franchise Finance Manager, Black will be responsible for loan origination, strategy and direction of Signature Financial's franchise finance business.

Before joining Signature Financial, Black served as Vice President - Business Development Officer for BankUnited in Miami where he handled franchise lending, primarily for fast-food restaurants. Throughout his career, he held a range of positions at Sovereign Bank, Imperial Capital Bank and Safeco Credit Co., all focused on franchise financing. During his 13-year tenure at Safeco, he was the leading originator of franchise financing loans. Black also was Vice President -- Marketing for NFA Restaurant Finance and earlier in his career, spent nearly ten years at Westinghouse Corp., in a range of credit-related roles.

Supporting Black is Thomas E. Eylander, who was named Senior Risk Underwriting Manager for franchise finance. Eylander, with 35 years of related experience, most recently served as Senior Credit Analyst/Senior Underwriter at Pacific Continental Bank. He also held credit/loan administration roles at United Grocers, Inc. and Associated Grocers, Inc. Eylander spent 22 years at Safeco serving in a range of credit management and analyst roles, including working with Black in the franchise finance sector as Senior Risk Officer.

Richard J. Paine, Sr. was appointed National Marine Sales Manager for Signature Financial's new commercial marine finance initiative. In this capacity, he will lead Signature Financial's direct commercial marine business development efforts and aid in the development of the new unit's strategic direction. Paine brings more than 20 years of marine lending expertise to his new position. Most recently, he was National Finance Manager in the Commercial Marine Group at TCF Equipment Finance, Inc., where he started the company's specialized maritime and transportation group, targeting shipbuilders, operators, service providers and vessel owners. Additionally, Paine created the marine lending initiative at Key Equipment Finance, a division of KeyBank Corp. He also held other finance and business development roles at CitiCapital, General Electric Commercial Corp., and Debis Financial Services, Inc., a division of Daimler Chrysler.

"During the past several years, we have demonstrated and carefully pursued our interest in entering into complementary business lines that strengthen our offerings, as evidenced by the successful launch of Signature Financial in 2012 which has originated in excess of $2 billion in loans and leases. Our entrance into the specialty finance arenas for both the franchise and marine markets is another example of this strategy, and represents our commitment to seize relevant opportunities to provide clients a comprehensive portfolio of products and services. These initiatives will further strengthen Signature Bank's already strong balance sheet through the diversification of our lending businesses," explained Joseph J. DePaolo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Signature Bank.

"This is an exciting endeavor for Signature Financial and Signature Bank, as we extend our specialty finance expertise into additional thriving industries. Since identifying significant opportunities within both the franchise and marine sectors, we are pleased to have attracted talented professionals like John, Richard and Tom to lead Signature Financial's expansion in these two specialty areas. We welcome these industry-leading veterans to the Signature Financial team, and look forward to bringing their lending expertise to our Company and to the new clients we will be serving," commented Walter Rabin, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Financial.

Signature Bank, member FDIC, is a New York-based full-service commercial bank with 27 private client offices throughout the New York metropolitan area. The Bank's growing network of private client banking teams serves the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers.

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