If Joseph DePaolo needs reminding why Signature Bank was created, he simply looks out the window of his 12th floor corner office on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Across the street is HSBC-the bank that acquired his former employer, Republic National Bank. It's the same building that Republic once called home.

On May 10, 1999, HSBC Bank USA announced the deal for the $55 billion-asset bank and DePaolo and colleague John Tamberlane began contemplating their next move because the acquirer's philosophy didn't mesh with Republic's, recalls DePaolo, the president and CEO of Signature. From those initial talks Signature Bank was born. On April 27, 2001, 65 former-Republic employees resigned from HSBC. That night a cocktail reception was held for the new Signature workforce, and that Saturday through Monday they were trained.

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