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May 01, 2008

Signature Bank Reports 2008 First Quarter Results

  • Net Income Increased 5.7 Percent to $9.9 Million or $0.33 Diluted Earnings Per Share, Versus $9.3 Million or $0.31 Diluted Earnings Per Share for the First Quarter of 2007
  • Deposits Rose $75.9 Million to $4.59 Billion, Including Core Deposit Growth of $124.8 Million and an Expected Decrease of $48.9 Million in Short-term Escrow Deposits
  • Loans Up $193.9 Million, or 9.6 Percent, for the Quarter to $2.22 Billion
  • Net Interest Margin on a Tax-Equivalent Basis Expanded 23 Basis Points to 3.04 Percent in the Quarter When Compared to the 2007 Fourth Quarter
  • Two Private Client Banking Teams Joined the Bank in First Quarter; Total Teams at 54 at Quarter-End

NEW YORK ... May 1, 2008 ... Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), a New York-based full-service commercial bank, today announced results for its 2008 first quarter ended March 31, 2008.

Net income for the quarter was $9.9 million or $0.33 diluted earnings per share, up 5.7 percent when compared with net income of $9.3 million or $0.31 diluted earnings per share, for the 2007 first quarter.  Growth in net income was a result of expanding net interest margin, which was driven by a significant decrease in deposit costs. The increase in the quarter's net income was partially offset by an increase of $5.1 million in the provision for loan losses, driven by growth in the loan portfolio, reflective of the weakening economic environment and the increase in non-performing loans.

Net interest income reached $41.2 million, up $7.5 million for the 2008 first quarter, or 22.3 percent, compared with the same period last year.  Total assets were $5.82 billion at March 31, 2008, an increase of $632.9 million, or 12.2 percent, when compared with $5.19 billion reported in the first quarter of 2007.

Deposits in the first quarter rose $75.9 million, totaling $4.59 billion at March 31, 2008.  This amount includes core deposit growth of $124.8 million and a decrease of $48.9 million in short-term escrow deposits, which due to their nature and as expected were released during the quarter.  When compared with deposits at March 31, 2007, the overall deposit growth represents an increase of $620.6 million, or 15.6 percent.

"The stable and successful platform that Signature Bank has built, coupled with our continued ability to execute on our strategic business plan, has allowed us to deliver another quarter of improved financial performance.  During the first quarter, we saw growth across the board -- in core deposits, loans, earnings and private client banking teams as well as a notable increase in net interest margin.  Signature Bank's established reputation among both clients and bankers alike continues to strengthen, leaving us poised to capture additional market share," said Joseph J. DePaolo, President and Chief Executive Officer.
"We remain focused on recruitment and the delivery of exceptional client service, which has certainly enabled the Bank to stand out from the mega-banks in this changing marketplace.  Despite today's challenging financial services environment, Signature Bank continues to be the bank of choice for clients and bankers based on our seamless, single-point-of-contact approach.  We will continue to work hard to identify and employ the area's most talented bankers, which is integral to our model," DePaolo said of Signature Bank's market position.
Scott A. Shay, Chairman of the Board, also commented on the 2008 first quarter results and Signature Bank's competitive advantage:  "The current investment environment and credit markets pose challenges for any financial services entity but Signature Bank's core business is strong and steadily growing.  As we plan our course of action and navigate through this difficult environment, we remain confident in our abilities to consistently deliver.  And, because we are committed to meeting the needs of an underserved niche and executing on our founding philosophies, the Bank continues to demonstrate value for shareholders, as evidenced by our success to date.  We believe we will emerge an even stronger bank as these widespread challenges shake out."

Net Interest Income
Net interest income on a tax-equivalent basis for the first quarter of 2008 was $41.4 million, an increase of $7.6 million, or 22.7 percent, from the same period last year.  Average interest-earning assets for the 2008 first quarter increased $647.6 million, up 13.4 percent from the comparable period a year ago.  Asset yields for the 2008 first quarter decreased 34 basis points to 5.52 percent, when compared with the first quarter of last year.  Average costs of deposits and average costs of funds for the 2008 first quarter decreased by 43 and 56 basis points to 2.24 and 2.57 percent, respectively, versus the 2007 first quarter.  All of these decreases are predominantly due to lower prevailing interest rates.  

The net interest margin on a tax-equivalent basis for the 2008 first quarter increased 21 basis points to 3.04 percent when compared with the first quarter of 2007.  On a linked quarter basis, net interest margin on a tax-equivalent basis grew 23 basis points, due to lower prevailing interest rates, including LIBOR, as well as an increase in loans as a percentage of assets.  Reflective of the natural lag effect of our deposit repricing, the Bank was able to pass along the Federal Reserve rate cuts of the fourth quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 to our deposit costs in the first quarter.

Non-Interest Income and Non-Interest Expense
Non-interest income for the 2008 first quarter was $9.9 million, an increase of $3.0 million, or 44.1 percent, versus $6.8 million for the first quarter of 2007.  This increase is primarily a result of commissions associated with off-balance sheet deposits and increased brokerage activities, as well as an increase in fees and service charges related to client expansion.  Included in non-interest income is $2.0 million in net gains on sales of securities and loans, consisting of $1.5 million of gains on sales of securities and approximately $500,000 in gains on sales of SBA securities and loans.  Additionally, non-interest income for the first quarter of 2008 was reduced by $703,000 in write-downs for other than temporary impairment of securities associated with two securities that were previously written-down in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Non-interest expense for the first quarter of 2008 was $28.6 million compared with $23.3 million reported in the first quarter of last year.  The increase of $5.2 million, or 22.4 percent, was primarily due to the addition of new private client banking teams and offices.
The Bank's efficiency ratio was 55.9 percent for the 2008 first quarter versus 57.5 percent for the 2007 first quarter.  This improvement was primarily due to growth in net interest income and non-interest income.

Loans, excluding loans held for sale, for the 2008 first quarter rose $193.9 million, or 9.6 percent, to $2.22 billion at March 31, 2008, versus $2.03 billion at December 31, 2007.  At March 31, 2008, loans to total assets were 38.1 percent, compared with 34.7 percent at December 31, 2007.  Average loans, excluding loans held for sale, reached $2.09 billion, up $96.5 million, or 4.8 percent, for the quarter.
Loans held for sale were $158.1 million at March 31, 2008, a decrease of $14.3 million, or 8.3 percent, from December 31, 2007.  Periodic fluctuations of loans held for sale are predominantly due to the timing of SBA loan purchases and subsequent pool sales.

At March 31, 2008, non-performing loans were $40.0 million, representing 1.80 percent of total loans, compared to non-performing loans of $18.6 million, or 0.92 percent of total loans, at December 31, 2007.  At March 31, 2008, the ratio of allowance for loan losses to total loans was at 1.04 percent compared to 0.90 percent at December 31, 2007 and 0.86 percent at March 31, 2007.
The increase in non-performing loans is predominantly attributed to one $16.5 million loan.  This loan was current as to contractual payments due at March 31, 2008 at which time the client filed for bankruptcy protection.  The loan is secured by all assets of the client, including receivables and equipment and a personal guarantee.  While an independent valuation of these assets supports the full value of the credit, the allowance for loan losses includes an allocation to reflect the risk associated with the bankruptcy proceedings.

Non-performing loans at March 31, 2008 are predominantly comprised of four credits that total $36.6 million. Each of these credits was impacted by events specific to them that do not appear to be indicative of the current economic environment.  These credits are being actively managed by the Bank and we expect resolution on them in the short-term.  

Signature Bank's capital ratios remain strong.  The Bank's tier 1 risk-based, total risk-based and leverage capital ratios were approximately 14.49 percent, 15.23 percent and 7.92 percent, respectively, as of March 31, 2008, well in excess of regulatory requirements.  The ratios reflect the relatively low risk profile of the balance sheet.

Conference Call
Signature Bank's management will host a conference call to review results of the 2008 first quarter on Thursday, May 1, 2008, at 10:00 AM ET.  Participants should dial 800-218-4007 at least ten minutes prior to the start of the call.  International callers should dial 303-262-2193.
To hear a live web simulcast or to listen to the archived web cast following completion of the call, please visit the Bank's web site at, click on the "Investor Relations" tab, then select "Company News," followed by "Conference Calls," to access the link to the call.  To listen to a telephone replay of the conference call, please dial 303-590-3000 and enter reservation identification number 11113556.  The replay will be available from approximately 12:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 1, 2008, through 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, May 6, 2008.

About Signature Bank
Signature Bank, member FDIC, is a New York-based full-service commercial bank with 21 private client offices located in the New York metropolitan area, serving the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers through dozens of private client groups.  The Bank offers a wide variety of business and personal banking products and services as well as investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services through its subsidiary, Signature Securities Group Corporation, a licensed broker-dealer, investment adviser and member NASD/SIPC.

Signature Bank's 21 offices are located throughout the metropolitan New York area. In Manhattan - 261 Madison Avenue; 300 Park Avenue; 71 Broadway; 565 Fifth Avenue; 950 Third Avenue; 200 Park Avenue South and 1020 Madison Avenue. Brooklyn - 26 Court Street; 84 Broadway and 6321 New Utrecht Avenue. Westchester - 1C Quaker Ridge Road, New Rochelle and 360 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains. Long Island - 1225 Franklin Avenue, Garden City; 279 Sunrise Highway, Rockville Centre; 58 South Service Road, Melville; 923 Broadway, Woodmere; 40 Cuttermill Road, Great Neck and 100 Jericho Quadrangle, Jericho. Queens - 36-36 33rd Street, Long Island City and 78-27 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights. Bronx - 421 Hunts Point Avenue, Bronx.

For more information, please visit

This press release and oral statements made from time to time by our representatives contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our future results, interest rates and the interest rate environment, loan and deposit growth, loan performance, operations, new private client team hires, new office openings and business strategy. These statements often include words such as "may," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "estimate" or other similar expressions. As you consider forward-looking statements, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to: (i) prevailing economic conditions; (ii) changes in interest rates, loan demand, real estate values, and competition, which can materially affect origination levels and gain on sale results in our business, as well as other aspects of our financial performance; (iii) the level of defaults, losses and prepayments on loans made by us, whether held in portfolio or sold in the whole loan secondary markets, which can materially affect charge-off levels and required credit loss reserve levels; and (iv) competition for qualified personnel and desirable office locations. Additional risks are described in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the FDIC. You should keep in mind that any forward-looking statements made by Signature Bank speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and we cannot predict these events or how they may affect the Bank. Signature Bank has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made. In light of these risks and uncertainties, you should keep in mind that any forward-looking statement made in this release or elsewhere might not reflect actual results.

For Further Information:
Investor Contact:
Eric R. Howell, Chief Financial Officer

Media Contact:
Susan J. Lewis, 646-822-1825,