Exclusive interview: Chairman and CEO of Admirals Bank, Nicholas W. Lazares, talks about his success story, his Greek heritage and the Greek economy. He points out there is still room for investments in crisis-hit Greece.
Admirals Bank was created about two years ago when Greek-American Nick W. Lazares and a group of investors bought a small, capital-challenged institution in Cranston, R.I. and renamed it to Admirals Bank.
Prior to the acquisition, Lazares had already spent many years in Boston as co-chief executive of Capital Crossing Bank. He and Capital Crossing’s other co-CEO, Rick Wayne, were former tax attorneys who built the place into a $1.2 billion bank from the ground up. Capital Crossing Bank was acquired by Lehman Brothers in 2007 for $210 million.
Since 2010, Lazares is Admirals Bank’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Lazares and a group of private investors acquired this regional retail bank in mid-2010 intending to capitalize on the seismic dislocation in the financial services industry.
With fresh capital and a new management team in place, Admirals has been aggressively acquiring bank branches and loan portfolios while continuing to organically grow the banking business. On its 2-year anniversary, the bank has tripled in size and also launched a unique service for special clients called bespoke banking.
“We have expanded our footprint from Rhode Island to Boston now as well and we have introduced a very high-end form of retail banking called bespoke banking. ”
“At the heart of each interaction, our clients will find trust, attention, and expertise from a dedicated relationship officer who will be the direct point of contact when they need him,” explains Lazares during our interview in his office in Boston’s Hancock tower.
Watch the full interview below:
During our interview, Lazares also spoke about his Greek heritage and expressed his concern for his crisis-hit ancestral land.
“What happens in Greece is tragic from every perspective. We go to Greece often and we have relatives there.”
The successful Greek-American CEO fears the most what many experts have begun to fear as well, political unrest in Greece as a result of the radical political forces of the left or the right.
However, he points out that Greeks are smart people and he believes that Greece will find it’s way out of the crisis.
“So I do believe that there is enormous opportunity in Greece. I think it will be certainly better for the Greek people if they can find a way to stay in the Euro and I think it will give us greater hope to be able to make investments in Greece.”
About Nicholas W. Lazares:
A native Bostonian, Lazares got his law degree from Boston University and is on the Dean’s Council at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His father, William, owned a small fuel oil company called Town Oil, where Lazares got his first grounding in business.
His maternal grandparents come from Asia minor, from what is today a small resort village in Turkey called Alatseta (Alatsata in Greek). His father’s parents come from the village of Potamia in the Peloponnese which he visits often.
Lazares’ wife Pamela is also a Greek-American and an attorney. They have three children: Nicholas, 26, who works for Admirals Bank, Katherine, 24, a law student, and Alexandra, 17, a senior at Milton Academy. Lazares is an avid sailor and he has won the prestigious St. Barths Bucket Regatta.