John Kanas released a statement on Tuesday re-asserting that BankUnited Inc.'s planned acquisition of Herald National Bank jibes with his noncompete provisions with Capital One Bank.
Last week, Capital One filed a suit against Kanas, the chairman, president and chief executive of the $10.7 billion-asset BankUnited, and John Bohlsen, BankUnited's vice chairman and chief lending officer, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that alleged the men are violating their noncompete agreements with the planned buy. Kanas' agreement was established in 2007 when Capital One acquired North Fork Bank of Melville, N.Y., where he served as chief executive officer. Bohlsen headed Capital One's commercial banking and is under a similar agreement.
"John Bohlsen and I are well aware of our contractual obligations under our non-competition agreements with Capital One. We have been fully compliant with those obligations, and we will continue to be so," Kanas said in the release. "The Herald transaction has been structured to fall squarely within an explicit exception to the non-compete provisions in our agreements. We are very confident of our position and very confident that we will prevail in this lawsuit and that our proposed transaction with Herald, as well as our expansion strategy in the Northeast, will proceed as planned."
BankUnited, which is based in Miami Lakes, Fla., announced early last month that it planned to acquire the $501 million-asset Herald National in a $71.4 million stock-and-cash deal. When that deal was announced, Kanas said in an interview with American Banker that he planned to remain on the sidelines and let the bank operate independently at least until his noncompete contract expires in August 2012.