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Atlantic Bank of NY: Serving Greek Americans for Almost a Century

Atlantic Bank of New York
Atlantic Banks’s flagship branch at 405 Park Ave. in New York. Public Domain

The Atlantic Bank of New York with almost a hundred years of service to the Greek-American community continues to grow and help its customers realize their goals.

With its flagship branch at 35 Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, it served generations of Greeks and Greek Americans under the wings of the National Bank of Greece.

Atlantic Bank was and continues to be one of the landmark institutions coinciding with the history of the Greek diaspora in NYC and in the USA at large.

In 2006 Atlantic Bank was sold by the National Bank of Greece to New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) which continues as Atlantic Bank Division with 11 branches to serve the Greek American community till today.

“From the very beginning, in the mid-1920s, the Atlantic Bank supported the basic financial needs of the community,” said Atlantic Bank President Nancy Papaioannou, the first woman to hold that office since Atlantic bank’s inception in 1926.

“It used its extensive network in the local community to find the right people and information so customers could achieve their goals and dreams,” she added.

In 1926, Bank of Athens Trust Company, a subsidiary of Bank of Athens, received a bank charter in New York State. In 1952, the bank changed its name to Atlantic Bank of New York.

In 2006, the bank was acquired by New York Community Bank for $400 million, and Spiros J. Voutsinas was appointed President of Atlantic Bank. Following his death, Papaionannou was unanimously appointed President in 2014.

The bank currently has eleven full-service branches in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, and Nassau County, and offers a comprehensive menu of financial services for small and mid-size businesses, commercial real estate investors, consumers, and their families.

Because Atlantic Bank is part of NYCB, its customers can also bank at any of 237 branches in Metro New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, and Arizona.

Papaioannou said that without NYCB, Atlantic Βank would not be in the strong position it is today.

“The acquisition by NYCB gave the opportunity to use its platforms and its network to establish its presence throughout America,” she noted.

Atlantic Bank of New York
Nancy Papaioannou, President of Atlantic Bank, Managing Director of NYCB

Papaioannou was born, raised, and educated in Athens, Greece, where she attended Arsakion, a prestigious preparatory school, as well as the French Academy.

At the age of eighteen, she joined the National Bank of Greece, and in 1990, she was transferred to its U.S. affiliate, Atlantic Bank of New York.

Once in New York, Papaioannou continued her academic studies, majoring in Accounting and Banking, and graduating from Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Business Management.

Building on her extensive experience and education, she became the manager of the Premier Banking Group of Atlantic Bank of New York in February 2001. In 2006, when Atlantic Bank of New York was acquired by New York Commercial Bank, Papaioannou continued in her leadership role with Premier Banking.

An active participant in the Greek American community, Papaioannou is a member of various Greek-American organizations in New York.

Atlantic Bank customers “are not dollar amounts, but human beings”

Atlantic Bank, said Papaioannou, has special connections to the Greek-American community which are not to be found at other banks.

Throughout the years, it has assisted Greek-owned businesses to establish themselves in the US and grow. These include companies such as Loumidis Foods, Gyro World, and many accounting firms, medical practices, and law firms.

By remaining involved with the Greek-American community and their many clients, Atlantic Bank maintained the vital communication and social connections needed to reassure people during the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mostly, our customers are Greek-American and from our community, the Greek-American community in the greater New York metro area, as well as some from Boston, Washington D.C., and even Florida,” she told Greek Reporter.

“What differentiates Atlantic Bank from other banks is that we don’t see our customers as dollar amounts; we see our customers as human beings,” said Papaioannou. “We become part of their families, we go to their weddings, we go to their christenings, and we go to their parties.”

“We are reaching out by calling our clients…we are working together and supporting each other, even by calling our customers and telling them that we are there for them,” added Papaioannou.

This is part of what she calls “white-glove service,” meaning going above and beyond what your customers expect and genuinely making them the highest priority to meet their needs.

But above all, she told Greek Reporter, what differentiates Atlantic Bank from other institutions is “philotimo.”

“Philotimo to the Greek is like breathing,” she stressed, and “A Greek is not a Greek without it!”

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