Executives at the doomed Signature Bank produced a Broadway-style musical video to launch the firm in the early 2000s — and its song branded the bank “the stupidest idea I ever heard” and even quipped that it could “diminish and fail.”
Clips of the musical number — now dripping with irony after regulators stepped in over the weekend and took control of the New York-based firm in a bid to stave off a US banking crisis — resurfaced online and went viral this week.
“Look, the only way we are going to do this thing is if we start a bank from scratch,” the bank’s co-founder and chairman, Scott Shay, declares at the start as he fidgets in front of a dressing-room mirror with fellow executives.
“From scratch?” replies John Tamberlane, the bank’s vice chairman. “You gotta be kidding.”
“How in the world do you do that?” asks Joseph DePaolo, Signature’s CEO. “Is there a book ‘How to Build a Bank for Dummies?’”
Concluding that “we’d have to make our own mistakes” and “we’d have nobody to blame but ourselves,” the bankers then break into song, calling the idea of starting a bank “the stupidest idea that I have ever heard.”
“We’re sick of the stank of the big major banks so we start one?” they ask, with one shooting back, “It’s absurd!”
“What a terrible proposition — like convincing the world to eat kale!” the chorus continues. “What possible fate will become of our bank other than to diminish and fail?”
Bringing the irony to a head, Shay then triumphantly retorts: “I happen to know for a fact — that won’t happen.”
The video — which then launches into a number touting Signature’s aspirations for solid customer service and safe lending — was posted by Genevieve Roch-Decter, a money manager and Substack blogger.
“Try not to cringe as you watch this,” Roch-Decter tweeted. “Their executive team spent millions of dollars to produce music videos & TV shows about themselves.”
In a subsequent tweet, Roch-Decter wrote: “From someone I know who worked at Signature Bank for several years: ‘The Management Team was basically like the show, the Office. They’d waste money on things like producing parody videos’.”
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Another social media user tweeted: “This is what happens when you let community theater actors run the financial system.”
Roch-Decter this week separately posted another “cringe”-worthy video produced by Signature’s marketing department.
The bizarre ad segment starts with a group of “generic” bankers from a “mega bank” who are covered in chicken feathers — apparently with idea that they’ve been busy “plucking” clients with ruthless business tactics.
“Some banks will pluck their clients, some banks are ruthless, so many useless meetings,” the song begins. “Some banks will sell their souls, some banks just feel real old.”
“Only possible conclusion, from its inception the bank was created to fail,” another Twitter user wrote.
The five-minute marketing video, titled “Some Banks,” cuts through a dizzying number of scenes, with employees dancing in the office and an evil “mega banker” grabbing a pile of gold coins from a helpless client couple.
The marketing video later cuts to a banker who gets up from his desk and joins in the chorus.
“I stand for honesty, I stand for integrity,” the banker sings and begins carrying a flag through the office bearing the lender’s official logo.
Elsewhere, a pair of employees are seen doing a high-five in front of a Seattle Seahawks football helmet, while others are washing their faces in a fountain.
It is unclear when the video was produced, though a YouTube page indicates that it was uploaded to the site nine years ago.
The Post has sought comment from Signature Bank.
The New York Division of Financial Services took over Signature Bank on Sunday and gave control of it to the FDIC, the federal agency that insures bank deposits, until the bank can be sold.
Signature’s takeover came two days after regulators seized California-based Silicon Valley Bank.
Both followed a rush of withdrawals from the banks, which catered to technology businesses.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is now under fire over his role on the board of directors at Signature Bank, said Monday that he believes state officials were trying to make an example of Signature Bank and that the government takeover was the wrong move.
Despite a wave of withdrawals, the bank’s situation was under control before regulators swooped in, Frank said.