Atlantic Bank’s President passed away, at 80. A top banker, philanthropist and a loved family man.
New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Spiro J. Voutsinas, 80, President, Atlantic Bank, has lost the battle with cancer and passed away on Friday, April 25, 2014 at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was highly respected as a family man, a banker with a long and exceptional career, a philanthropist and a proud Hellene.
Spiros ‘Jerry’ Voutsinas was born June 14, 1933, in Cephalonia to Eugenia and George Voutsinas. Following the earthquakes of Cephalonia in 1953, he immigrated to the United States from Greece and studied Accounting, Computer Science, Banking and Finance at Brown University Graduate School. He started his banking career at the Harlem Savings Bank, now Apple Bank for Savings, as its Chief Accounting Officer and ended as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Director.
His 50 year banking career includes Board memberships in five banks, and a financial institution. He 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 has been honored for his community affairs involvement 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 the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House.
He was a Member of the Cyprus American Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic Bankers Association.
He believed in the talents and potential of Greeks whether they were born in Greece or the United States. In an interview with the Greek News, in December 2006, he said “through hard work and education Greek Americans have accomplished a lot and in every single major financial institution there are Greek Americans in managing positions. I think we owe it to the younger generation to help them and offer them every opportunity”.
Spiros Voutsinas took over as President of the Altantic Bank on April of 2006, following its acquisition by New York Community Bank. The sale of the historic Greek banking institution of the United States has created a great concern amongst the Greek American personnel and the Community. But, Spiro Voutsinas reassured everyone that the main goal remained the same: to continue serving the Greek American Community with an even greater sense of duty and responsibility, keeping at the same time close ties with its organizations. And that was a promise he kept.
In order to better serve the needs of our community, Spiros Voutsinas has created an advisory board of leading Greek American personalities. Amongst them, businessman John Catsimatidis, Ambassador Andreas Jacovides and financier Nicos Bornozis. The tragic irony is the members of the Advisory Board were called for a meeting on Wednesday, April 30. Instead of this meeting they will attend the funeral of their friend.
In the Dec. 2006 interview Spiro Voutsinas recalled that in the early 90ʼs he was interviewed for the position of the President of Atlantic, by then president of the National Bank of Greece Mr Hermides.
“Then I was the Chief Operating Officer of Apple Bank. But I thought I better not to. And we parted friendly”.
The Greek Crisis saddened Spiros Voutsinas but he always remained confident that his homeland would overcome difficulties. In November 2010, in the sidelines of the Capital Link Forum he told “Greek News” that “Greece presents a unique opportunity for anybody who has the capital ability to invest there.”
He was also confident that the reforms would eventually proceed.
“I think everything will change. They have to change because there is no way to sustain them without being productive. Productivity is the key to any success.”
Nicolas Bornozis, President of Capital Link, posted on the condolences pages that “Spiros has been an inspiration to all of us not just because of his business success but also because of his character, integrity and drive. He led by example and had this magic capacity to get us all involved working together as a team. He was a leader who gave back to society and his fellow men. I have been uniquely privileged to serve on his Advisory Board and his memory will be eternal. Our condolences to his family.”.
Ambassador Andew Jacovides speaking to the Greek News describes Spiro Voutsinas as “a generous friend, good family person, dissent and a human banker. That’s why he was fully respected by the whole Greek American Community and the American public in General”.
His closest assistant, Sofia Milionis told the Greek News that Spiro Voutsinas was like a father to her. He was a very humble person and although his philanthropic activities were numerous, only few of them were made public.
He told us that it was his insistence that convinced the Chairman of the Board on NYCB to buy Atlantic Bank. And he did it because he thought that was the only way to keep the Atlantic Bank close to the Greek American Community.
He is survived by his wife Aristea. Voutsinas, their daughters, Jean Close and Christina Kafes (and their husbands, Nicholas Kafes and Peter Klose), and grandchildren, Owen, Celeste, Oliver and Lexington.
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).
Viewing hours: Date: Monday, April 28, 2014, from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm and Tuesday, April 29, 2014, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, at the Massapequa Funeral Home, South Chapel (4980 Merrick Road Massapequa Park, NY 11762, Tel: 516-882-8200).
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. http://saintdemetriosrelief.com/campaigns/fire-relief-fund/
For information about services or to leave condolences– http://www.massapequafuneralhome.com/obituary/spiros-j-voutsinas/.