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John Kanas inches ahead on banking foothold in NY

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

Former North Fork Bancorp chief John Kanas has gotten a crucial go-ahead in his bid to regain a banking foothold in New York, through his planned $71.4-million buy of Herald National Bank.

Herald National, a small private bank with offices in Melville, Manhattan and Brooklyn, said 83 percent of its shareholders voted last week to approve a merger with BankUnited Inc.

Kanas, who sold North Fork to Capital One, is chief executive and co-owner of BankUnited, of Miami Lakes, Fla.

After the Thursday shareholders’ vote, the two banks are cleared to merge in the first quarter of 2012, pending the satisfaction of certain conditions in the merger agreement.

Herald National shares, traded on the American Stock Exchange, rose 3 cents, to $3.72, in light trading early Tuesday. Holders of about 14 million shares of Herald stock voted for the merger.

BankUnited has 90 branches in Florida.

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