Spiros J. Voutsinas, President of the Atlantic Bank, passed away on April 26th, 2014 after losing his battle with cancer. The top banker, selfless mentor, and ‘quite’ philanthropist was 80 years old.
A hard-working Greek who conquered the American dream at a young age, Mr. Spiros Voutsinas, was born June 14, 1933, on the Greek island of Cephalonia to Eugenia and George Voutsinas. Following the catastrophic earthquakes of Cephalonia in 1953 leveled his family home, he immigrated to the United States. Surpassing his fate as an immigrant with limited means at the time, the ambitious young Greek studied accounting, computer science, banking and finance at Brown University Graduate School.
In 1959, he started his banking career when he settled in his beloved New York City at the Harlem Savings Bank, now Apple Bank for Savings, as its youngest chief accounting officer and ended as executive vice-president, chief operating officer and director in 1987.
From November 1988 to March 2007, Mr. Voutsinas was the president of Omega Capital, Inc., a real estate development and syndication firm. In addition, he was a general partner of Omega Partners LP, a money management firm specializing in bank stocks from 1991 to 2005. From 1987 to 1992, Mr. Voutsinas served as a director of Interbank of New York. Prior to joining the Roslyn Bancorp Board in 1999, he had been a director of TR Financial Corp. and of Roosevelt Savings Bank, its primary subsidiary, for six and seven years, respectively.
Spiros J. Voutsinas joined the board of directors at New York Community Bancorp, Inc. and New York Community Bank on October 31, 2003, in connection with the mergers of Roslyn Bancorp, Inc. with and into the company and of the Roslyn Savings Bank with and into New York Community Bank. He also served as a member of the board of directors of New York Commercial Bank since its establishment on December 30, 2005, and was named president of its Atlantic Bank division on April 28, 2006.
The sale of Atlantic Bank by the National Bank of Greece (its former parent company) caused a great amount of concern to the Greek-American community and personnel. It was then that Mr. Voutsinas took over as president, and not only reformed and re-shaped the bank into this great institution that it is today, but also strengthened the ties with countless Greeks and Greek-Americans who found a great banking partner that understood their needs.
Keeping his promise that the bank will continue to serve the Greek-American and wider community with even a greater sense of responsibility, he was quick to spot talented young employees – many of them Greek and Greek-Americans – who, under his guidance, became executives and turned Atlantic into one of the Greek-Americans’ most trusted banking institutions in the USA.
Mr. Voutsinas also served as the trustee of Mount Sinai Queens Hospital; he was a director of the Foreign Policy Association and a director of the NYCB Foundation, a non-profit organization, and a member of the Economic Club of New York. He was a member of the Cyprus American Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic Bankers Association.
An executive with an unprecedented banking experience who was respected by many high-profilers that run the world’s economy, Mr. Voutsinas, was often asked to offer advice to top Greek government officials. The economic crisis that hit his homeland, was something that concerned him greatly. In a past interview with Greek Reporter, Mr. Voutsinas had supported Greece’s stance to stay in the eurozone as the only path to get out of the crisis, but he had expressed concern for political practices the country follows. However, he always believed that Greece will come out of the crisis stronger, given that the necessary reforms will take place. We will overcome this crisis “as we always have in our history,” he had told Greek Reporter.
Besides being an example in his professional life, Mr. Voutsinas had set the bar even higher in his family life.
A devoted husband and father, he always talked with admiration about his wife, Aristea, and expressed pride for his daughters’ accomplishments in life. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, granting them every wish.
A selfless mentor and friend to many entrepreneurs, Mr. Voutsinas, was always available to offer advice to the young people who often knocked on his door, in many cases, opening his office to young professionals he didn’t even know.
“We have to help the younger generations as much as we can,” he used to say with a sense of great responsibility towards the future generations. On the same path were his philanthropical endeavors, many of which were never made public. After all “it is the good deed that gives you happiness, not the credit for it” he used to say.
Mr. Voutsinas has been honored for his service to the community by The New York State Senate, The New York State Assembly, The Child’s Center of NY, The March of Dimes, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Philoptochos Society and many other institutions.
Spiros J. Voutsinas is survived by his wife Aristea, their daughters, Jean Close and Christina Kafes, and grandchildren, Owen, Celeste, Oliver and Lexington.
A funeral service will take place on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 10:00 am, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul (110 Cathedral Avenue, Garden City, New York 11550).
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in memory of Spiros to go to the reconstruction of the St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church in Merrick.
For information about services or to leave condolences please visit www.massapequafuneralhome.com/obituary/spiros-j-voutsinas/.