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Robert Trigaux

'Brazen' BankUnited recruiting pitch comes with own cheeky resignation letter



BankunitedfailAPMiami HeraldPatrickFarrell Wake up and good morning. Amid all the bank failures in Florida and the country, there's some unorthodox and humorous business recruiting by at least one revitalized bank: BankUnited in Florida. (Photo: FDIC shutters BankUnited in May, by AP.)

Once Florida's largest headquartered bank, the Coral Gables bank (with Tampa Bay offices) was shut down in May then sold to a private investor group led by banker John Kanas that also includes WL Ross & Co., Carlyle Investment Management, Blackstone Capital Partners (yes, the same folks who recently bought Busch Gardens/SeaWorld and a piece of WestShore Mall in Tampa), Centerbridge Capital Partners, L.P. LeFrak Organization, The Wellcome Trust, Greenaap Investments Ltd. and East Rock Endowment Fund.

JohnkanasbankunitedcnbcshotKanas, 63, is wasting no time in trying to separate the recapitalized BankUnited from the pack. For starters, he's created a Web site called, which urges quality bankers to "Cheer Up!" and leave their unhappy positions to join BankUnited. The site even offers a tongue-in-cheek "resignation letter" that bankers can "use" to expedite their departures. Here is that letter:

Dear ( Bank CEO’s name ):
It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation.
As you know, I have for some time now felt very frustrated due to the fact that I am not able
to provide my customers with the services they need. I remember when things were different
around here and so do they, and believe me, if it weren’t for me they would have jumped
ship long ago.
Don’t take this wrong, I could not ask for a better group of colleagues. However, it is time for
me to move on, so I have accepted a position at BankUnited where my talent and experience
will be appreciated and I can go back to doing business with my commercial customers the
way we used to.
Best wishes,
( “your best employee” )
P.S. I am sure you realize my customers will follow me. By the way, if you would like to join me at
BankUnited, I will put a good word in for you.

The Miami Herald wrote a story about BankUnited's "brazen" recruiting campaign which includes nearly audible gasps of disbelief from other South Florida bankers unaccustomed to the "cheeky" style of CEO Kanas. This is the same banker who, in August on CNBC, predicted 1,000 banks will fail in the next two years. Cheer Up!

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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