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Customer Service Means Not Freaking Out When You Hear ‘Federal Money-Laundering Charges’

Signature Bank doesn't sweat the small stuff.
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This is for you, Signature Bank.

Hip-hop mogul Irv Gotti has been working his ass off since 2005 to get super-rich, all in gratitude for Signature Bank’s embrace.

For his part, Mr. Lorenzo, founder of hip-hop record label Murder Inc., said he has been loyal to the bank ever since it kept him as a client in 2005, when he was facing federal money-laundering charges. While other banks closed his accounts and refused his business, Signature stuck with him and even gave him a home-equity loan to help him pay his legal fees.

“No one [besides Signature] would touch me,” said Mr. Lorenzo. “I really want to make billions of dollars and let it be sitting in Signature.”

The bank’s CEO even embraces a management style that Gotti’s fellow rap impresario Suge Knight might appreciate.

Nearly 150 of the firm’s senior bankers report directly to him. “If they feel frustration, they can yell at me. If they feel they need to physically punch something...they can hit me,” said Mr. DePaolo.

It all adds up to a business model that even Barney Frank loves.

The bank’s loans and deposits both grew by more than 32% in 2014, compared with 4.2% loan growth and 4.6% deposit growth for similar banks, according to SNL Financial. The bank’s net interest margin, an important measure of lending profitability largely tied to interest rates, was higher than most of its peers at about 3.27% in the second quarter….

As a nod to increased regulatory scrutiny, Signature recently added Mr. Frank to its board, the first corporate affiliation for the namesake of the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law. Mr. Frank, a longtime critic of the banking sector, said in an interview that he likes Signature’s focus on lending and that it doesn’t “get involved with exotic derivatives and credit-default swaps.”

The Only Bank This Hip-Hop Mogul Will Use [WSJ]


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