Regulators shutter bank co-founded by Jewish donor Scott Shay


(JTA) — Following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, federal regulators have shuttered Signature Bank, whose chairman, Scott Shay, is a major donor to Jewish causes.

The New York-based bank was closed on Sunday, two days after Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, stoking panic in the markets and assurances from President Joe Biden on Monday that the banking system was safe.

Both Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank shut down because of depositor runs on their holdings. In Signature’s case, the run was triggered by concerns that the bank was one of just a handful that welcomed deposits in cryptocurrency, a market that crashed over the course of 2022.

Signature specialized in deposits from realtors and lawyers. It drew scrutiny from regulators in 2018 for its relationship with people in the circle of then-President Donald Trump, including his Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Shay co-founded Signature Bank in 1999 with Joseph DePaolo and received the backing of one of Israel’s major banks, Bank Hapoalim. He has been a major funder of Jewish and pro-Israel causes, with a focus on education. According to an online biography. he has served on the boards of the UJA-Federation of New York, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and has also been a supporter of Birthright Israel. He is the president of Chai Mitzvah, which facilitates Jewish text study in groups.

In recent years, he has also been a donor to the New York Jewish Week, which is published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s parent company, 70 Faces Media.

Shay has written two books on Jewish faith and identity: “Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry,” in 2006, and “In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism,” in 2018. He also wrote a book about anti-Zionism on college campuses, “Conspiracy U: A Case Study,” in 2021.