Like many entrepreneurs who start a new business, the three founders of Signature Bank -- Mick O'Rourke, Kevin Bastuga and Bryan Duncan -- recognized a void in the market and created a plan to meet that need. The year was 2005 and the three career commercial bankers were working together at a large banking institution. They recognized a need for a true commercial bank focused on serving Chicago's privately held, middle-market businesses. They quit their jobs and began working on a plan for a new kind of business bank in Chicago. Together, they founded Chicago-based Signature Bank and accepted the bank's first deposits totaling $1,920.35 from the twelve initial employees on August 4, 2006.
Today, Signature Bank is proud to celebrate its tenth year in business as the fastest growing, independently owned business bank in Chicago. It wasn't easy to establish a bank in 2006 and that remains true today. New regulatory limits on capital and liquidity have made it difficult for the state of Illinois to grant similar bank charters. In the past ten years, the number of bank charters in the Chicago area has decreased from 278 to 158. Yet, Signature Bank thrived during this same period and grew from that first deposit to more than $550 million in assets, placing it squarely in the top tier of banks its size in Chicago.
"Signature Bank opened as one of the last de novo banks in the state of Illinois to receive a charter," said Signature Bank Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Bryan Duncan. "Our capital raise of nearly $25 million remains one of the most successful in the history of the state of Illinois." Even in the midst of the financial crisis in 2009, Signature Bank raised another $9.8 million to fund growth becoming the only private capital raise for a bank that year.
With the help of their Directors and Shareholders, Signature Bank continues to grow organically through customer growth rather than acquisitions. It is now the 82nd fastest-growing bank in the United States.
"We built Signature Bank from start to finish," said Signature Bank Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Kevin Bastuga. "We quit our old jobs, we wrote the business plan, we raised the capital ourselves with the help of the other organizers of the bank, and we have really grown the bank one deal at a time."
While the assets speak for themselves, Signature Bank measures its true currency in the relationships it builds with customers in the Chicago business community. Signature Bank offers the same breadth of technology found at the bigger banks with the same depth of customer service that community banks provide.
"We understand that banking is ultimately about people and that's what drives us to work hard each and every day," Signature Bank President & CEO Mick O'Rourke said. "We stand by our customers and our customers stand by us. And we welcome new customers every day."
As one Signature Bank customer recently said, "It's nice to be welcomed by a bank. That's how banking used to be done." Other customers report that Signature Bank is "intuitive about my needs" and "refreshing in more ways than we could have imagined."
Ten years in and Signature Bank holds fast to their origin story. O'Rourke reflected on the last decade by saying, "We remain committed to the original mission statement of the bank, which is to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and approach every relationship with enthusiasm, honesty, and integrity. We hope to continue to do that well beyond the next ten years."
Learn more about Signature Bank at www.signature-bank.com.