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MASTER PLAN: BankUnited CEO John Kanas has moved quickly to staff up in New York since his noncompete agreement with Capital One ended Jan. 31.

BankUnited's Kanas Regathers Old Capital One Gang in New York

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BankUnited (BKU) in Miami Lakes, Fla., has hired two Capital One Financial (COF) executives to head its New York operations as it begins opening branches in the region.

Joe Roberto has been named president of New York banking operations and senior executive vice president of Bank United, the company said Monday. Previously, Roberto was responsible for Capital One's New York City deposit portfolio and managed seven regional commercial real estate groups throughout its Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and south central regions.

Kelly Sheehan joins BankUnited as senior vice president and head of commercial private banking in New York. Sheehan was vice president of Capital One's commercial real estate group.

Sheehan and Roberto are reuniting with BankUnited Chief Executive John Kanas, who led North Fork Bancorp before selling it to Capital One for $15 billion in 2007. A settlement with Capital One had barred Kanas from opening any branches in New York before Jan. 31.

BankUnited is currently building its New York staff as it prepares to open three branches in Midtown Manhattan in the coming weeks, and has hired around 50 people so far, a spokeswoman said. Kanas said he plans to hire 80 to 100 people in the region. It opened its first New York branch March 11 in Melville, on Long Island.

Private-equity and other investors said this month that they would sell a 20% stake in BankUnited in a public offering, a move analysts say could signal that BankUnited hopes to buy more banks.

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