Artie Gyftopoulos, '81
First Vice President, New York Community Bancorp, Inc.
When and where were you born?
January 3, 1963, Jersey City, NJ
Where did you grow up?
New York City through age 11, Athens from 11-17
How do you think attending ACS Athens, its curriculum, activities, and international setting/student body influenced your character and work ethic to help you become the success you are today?
Being exposed to such diverse cultures gave me a very open minded view of the world from a very young age and taught me social skills that I have used throughout my life in dealing with all sorts of people and becoming successful. I believe that trait would have aided me in any field I would have chosen
What are your memories of ACS? (For example: the kind of student you were, friends you still may have, best/worst memories, influential teachers and their effect on your life, etc.) relationships -
My fondest memories were of the people I met and the friends I made, many of which are still my close friends - I have friendships that span 37 years from when I started at ACS in 1974 in 6th grade. My best memories were hanging out at the "taverna" with the older kids and looking up to them and trying to be like them. I had many a great teachers in ACS - Pisanias in Greek class, Angelonides and Manglivera in French class and Dunn who I actually never had as a teacher but had a close relationship with. Though I was an "A" student, I was quite thetroublemaker and got away with a lot, but being accepted for who I was made my individual character flourish, something I believe doesn't happen in many schools even today. All my memories were best memories and I actually have no bad ones.
Tell us a little bit about what you do professionally:
I am a First Vice President and Manager of the Cash Management Department of New York Community Bancorp, Inc.- I manage several departments that service over 275 branches in 5 States. I am primarily in charge of Business retail services - business online banking, overnight investment sweeps and other business services we offer. I have worn many hats in my 24 years with the Bank (originally with Atlantic Bank, a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece (Ethniki Trapeza) where I started in the branch system, was a Branch Manager, the Branch Administrator in charge of 21 branches in 3 States, a consumer lender, a commercial lender and even business development until I arrived at my current position with NYCB who acquired Atlantic in 2006.
Your personal life?
Eternal bachelor living in Manhattan and traveling the world.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
I actually cannot name one specific person - I took what I saw as valuable from the many people that have crossed my path.
Are there any professional ‘words of wisdom’ you’d like to pass along? Would you be willing to help young graduates and if so, how?
I actually am part of the alumni mentoring program of Boston University from where I graduated in Business Administration with a concentration in International Management. I advise graduates of what to expect and how to handle the corporate world if they choose that path. The important qualities to become successful are to work hard, take pride in what you do so you become the best you can be, and be diplomatic with all you work with and always put yourself in the other persons shoes and listen instead of preaching so you can understand where they are coming from and thus deal with them effectively. Never take yourself too seriously and remember that anyone can be replaced.
What are you proudest of in your life?
My reputation - my legacy will hopefully be that I cared about people and helped people whenever I could, regardless if I had something to gain at the moment - the good things you do in this life are paid back to you in ways you never expected.
Professionally, how has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
That's a an interesting question - I never planned on becoming a Banker, just fell into it as I was trying to decide my career path. Because I didn't know what I wanted to be, I didn't have an image of what it would be, so I am content where I am in life right now - I have a good job, a respectable position, I work hard with a lot of responsibilities and stress but I make decent money and afford myself a nice life.
What are your plans for the future?
Early retirement - LOL - retiring in a shack on a beach, buying a boat and living a stress free life with a good life partner
Is there anything you would like to add?
I highly recommend ACS for anyone's children that can be fortunate enough to attend - the friendships last a lifetime and the oportunities afforded are priceless.