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A Kanas bank acquiring Herald National Bank

John Kanas, former chief executive of North Fork

John Kanas, former chief executive of North Fork Bank, in his office at Capitol One Bank. (April 22, 2009) Credit: Newsday File / David Pokress

Herald National Bank, a small private bank with an office in Melville, is being acquired by Florida-based BankUnited Inc. in a $71.4 million deal.

Herald National has branches in Manhattan and Brooklyn, in addition to the Melville office. BankUnited has 80 branches in Florida.

BankUnited said Randy Nielsen, the chairman and chief executive of Herald National, will remain in his job after the transaction closes later this year.

When former North Fork Bancorp head John Kanas bought BankUnited in May 2009, Newsday reported:

“Long Island banking titan John Kanas, along with several high-profile investors, has acquired BankUnited FSB, a failing Coral Gables, Fla.-based bank.” Kanas became BankUnited’s chairman and chief executive.

In today’s American Banker, a story on the BankUnited/Herald National merger is titled, “Kanas Will Be on Sideline As BankUnited Enters N.Y.” The publication said Kanas has a noncompete pact with Capital One, which bought North Fork. So Kanas plans to let Herald National operate independently until the pact expires in 2012, American Banker said.

The buy has been approved by the boards of both banks, with the value of each share of Herald National set at $4.13.

Herald National shareholders will get $22.9 million in cash and the remainder in the form of 1.7 million shares of BankUnited stock.

Newsday reported in 2009 that Herald was "a private client bank, founded to serve small- and medium-sized companies, their managers and hardly anyone else.” A bank official told Newsday that “the business model works … Herald has no bad loans, plenty of capital and is the fastest-growing new bank in the country.”

Rajinder P. Singh, chief operating officer of BankUnited, said in a Friday news release, "The acquisition of Herald is an important step toward expanding the reach of BankUnited into the New York market."

Photo shows John Kanas in his office at Capitol One Bank on April 22, 2009. Photo by David Pokress.

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