- The recently closed Signature Bank is facing an investor lawsuit accusing it of violating federal securities laws by recently making misleading statements about the company’s business and operations.
- The putative class action brought by plaintiff Matthew Schaeffer also names as defendants the bank’s CEO Joseph DePaolo, CFO Stephen Wyremski and COO Eric Howell. Schaeffer is represented by the Rosen Law Firm.
- The complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, takes aim in large part at a press release the New York City-based bank released Thursday, in which it said it was in strong financial position.
Schaeffer’s complaint against Signature called out statements from DePaolo and Howell as “materially false and/or misleading because they misrepresented and failed to disclose ... adverse facts pertaining to the Company’s business, operations, and prospects, which were known to Defendants or recklessly disregarded by them.”
“The March 9 Update overstated the Company’s market position, given that just a few days later, it was shut down by the New York Department of Financial Services,” the lawsuit said.
Howell said in Thursday’s release: “As shown by our current metrics, we intentionally maintain a high level of capital, strong liquidity profile and solid earnings, which continues to differentiate us from competitors, especially during challenging times.”
“We want to make it clear again that Signature Bank is a well-diversified, full-service commercial bank with more than two decades of history and solid performance serving middle market businesses,” DePaolo said in the release. “We have built a strong reputation serving commercial clients through nine business lines and reached in excess of $100 billion in assets by continually executing our single-point-of-contact, relationship-based model where banking teams are capable of meeting all client needs.”
Schaeffer asserted, rather, that Signature Bank “did not have the strong fundamentals that it represented itself as having in the days immediately prior to its takeover, or otherwise took action that left it susceptible to a takeover by the New York Department of Financial Services.”
NYDFS announced Sunday that it had taken possession of Signature Bank.
Signature Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Schaeffer’s suit is likely to be one of many filed in the aftermath of the recent events at Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank.
A group of shareholders Monday filed an investor lawsuit against SVB Financial Group following Silicon Valley Bank’s Friday closure by regulators.