Tags Posts tagged with "Gold Coast Bank"

Gold Coast Bank

by -
0 723
Gold Coast's East Setauket location as well as the bank's other branches will soon be part of Investors Bank. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Investors Bancorp, Inc., based in Short Hills, New Jersey, announced its acquisition of Islandia-based Gold Coast Bancorp, Inc. last week.

According to a press release from Investors Bancorp, consideration will be paid to Gold Coast stockholders in a combination of stock and cash valued at $63.6 million. The deal is based on Investors’ July 23 closing price of $11.20. Gold Coast had assets of $563 million, loans of $463 million and deposits of $486 million as of March 31.

“We are pleased to partner with Gold Coast, a commercial bank with deep ties to the Long Island community and a strong track record of growth,” said Investors’ Chairman and CEO, Kevin Cummings in the press release. “This transaction strengthens Investors’ current suburban Long Island franchise and deepens our presence in this large, affluent market.”

Gold Coast founder John Tsunis said in a phone interview that the Long Island bank chain needed larger facilities to support its business. He said it could only facilitate up to $10 million in business as it had a cap.

“To better service our customers, we needed to get more capital to support what our customers are doing,” Tsunis said. “To do that we either had to raise capital in the markets or merge with another bank.”

Tsunis, the current CEO and chairman of Gold Coast, said Investors Bank is the largest commercial bank in New Jersey with approximately a $23 billion balance sheet in contrast to Gold Coast’s $700 million balance sheet.

Investors Bank will be able to offer more services than the smaller community branches of Gold Coast, he said. The new offers will include points and larger facilities.

“With seven branches we’re limited in our reach and our scope around our branches,” Tsunis said.

Gold Coast Bank will now be called Investors Bank and all branches will remain open. In addition to its Islandia headquarters, Gold Coast has locations in Huntington, East Setauket, Farmingdale, Mineola, Southampton and Brooklyn. Investors Bancorp’s CEO and chairman of the board have visited the Island to meet with employees. Most employees are expected to continue working at their branches.

Tsunis will stay on as chairman of the regional advisory board. He said he would continue to facilitate the growth of the relationships Gold Coast has established in its communities. All of the Gold Coast board members have been offered a board position on the Investors board on Long Island as well.

Tsunis said he feels the move will be a good one for Gold Coast customers.

“We endeavored to be a community bank in the areas we serve, and they subscribe to the same philosophy,” Tsunis said.

Investors Bank has 147 branches in New York and New Jersey, with seven located on Long Island. Locations can be found in East Northport, Commack, Wantagh, Mineola, Manhasset, Merrick and Franklin Square.

Former New York Mets player Ed Kranepool, at podium, discusses the importance of organ donation at a June 12 rally in Setauket organized by John Tsunis, right. Photo by Anthony Petriello

By Amanda Perelli

For one sports legend, life has thrown him a curveball, but he’s not sitting it out on the bench.

Former baseball player Ed Kranepool, a member of the 1969 Miracle Mets, is rallying for New York state residents to bring miracles to the 10,000 state residents beside him on the organ transplant waiting list. Kranepool is in need of a kidney transplant due to diabetes-related kidney issues. He’s lived with the disease for the last 40 years.

To help him with his mission, John Tsunis, CEO and chairman of Gold Coast Bank and the owner of the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook, organized a rally June 12 at the Gold Coast Bank in Setauket. Community
business leaders of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Suffolk County Legislature and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization came together for the rally, where those in attendance vowed to sign donor registration forms.

“It’s time for us to act and enroll as organ donors. One organ donor can save up to eight lives.”

— John Tsunis

“It’s time for us to act and enroll as organ donors,” Tsunis said. “One organ donor can save up to eight lives. One organ donor can change the course of history for a child in need or a New York Mets legend, like Ed Kranepool. So today many of us are filling out a form, a simple form, committing to do one thing. That’s to donate life.”

Tsunis said the donor registration forms can be found at all of the Gold Coast Bank branches.

“If I understand the statistic correctly, we are 50 out of 50 states to donate organs, and I don’t want to live in a state that is selfish like that,” Tsunis said. “If we have the opportunity to fill out this form and donate an organ when the time is appropriate — we could help somebody else in our lives and in our community.”

Based off the percentage of population registered, New York state is ranked 51 out of 52 registries in the country for participation, according to Aisha Tator, New York Alliance for Donation executive director.

“The awareness, that’s the whole key,” said Kranepool, who attended the rally. “People need to be aware of the programs that are available.”

The 73-year-old’s procedure will take place at Stony Brook Hospital if a match is found.

“Not everybody has to go to Manhattan,” said Kranepool — who lives in Woodbury — about the hospitals Long Island has to offer. “The biggest and the finest and whatever, you know they are certainly out on Long Island, so it’s right in your own neighborhood.”

Forms can also be downloaded at www.donatelife.ny.gov/register.

by -
0 1741
Charlotte Plagainos, center, receives a check for $100 from Gold Coast Bank Chairman and CEO John Tsunis, second from right, after finding the oldest penny among Three Village students. Charlotte’s mother Rebecca, fourth from left, administrators from the bank and the school district were on hand for the presentation. Photo from Rebecca Photo from Rebecca Plagainos

A Three Village kindergartner recently turned a penny into $100.

The East Setauket branch of Gold Coast Bank announced Charlotte Plagainos was the first prize winner of its Oldest Penny Search after she found an 1802 penny. Bank representatives awarded her $100 for her discovery during a March 23 ceremony at Arrowhead Elementary School.

The 1802 penny that Charlotte Plagainos found while going through her great-grandfather’s coin jar. Photo from Rebecca Plagainos

The kindergartner said she found the winning penny while going through her great-grandfather’s jar of change on a rainy day with her mother, Rebecca Plagainos. Charlotte, who just turned 6 years old, said when she found the penny she had a feeling it was old enough to win the contest.

“I was really excited,” she said, adding that she noticed the head of the coin featured a Native American and not President Abraham Lincoln.

Her mother said when Charlotte received the news that she won from Gold Coast Bank, the family was screaming, and the kindergartner did her happy dance.

“I started to jump up and down, up and down,” Charlotte said.

John Tsunis, Gold Coast Bank chairman and CEO, said he was surprised a student found such an old penny.

“I thought we would get something maybe somewhere in the early 1900s, but not in the 1800s,” Tsunis said. “That’s awesome.”

Rebecca Plagainos said the win turned into a counting lesson for Charlotte, who can count up to 1,000.

“We took it out all in [dollar bills], so it was super exciting because it was a huge stack of bills,” Plagainos said. “We could lay it all out and count them.”

After winning the contest, Charlotte’s parents treated her and her sister, Daphne, to a celebratory dinner at Slurp Ramen and then to Roger’s Frigate in Port Jefferson for ice cream. Charlotte said at the Frigate she bought herself and her sister stuffed animals — a parrot for her and a bunny for Daphne.

“I thought we would get something maybe somewhere in the early 1900s, but not in the 1800s. That’s awesome.”

— John Tsunis

Tsunis said the contest kicked off during an assembly at Arrowhead Elementary School Feb. 12 during the school’s spirit week, where bank representatives challenged students to find the oldest penny in the Three Village area. They chose the penny due to the event falling on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The prizes offered were $100 for first prize, $50 for second, and the winner’s school’s PTA would receive $500.

“We were looking for a way that we could communicate with the young kids in the Three Village community,” Tsunis said.

The chairman said each student received a piggybank and shiny new penny. He and other bank representatives met with the student council to introduce the contest and discussed the importance of establishing a pattern of savings. Tsunis said savers would be surprised with their results with compound interest.

“No matter how small you save, save that amount on a regular basis,” Tsunis said. “Get something that’s comfortable, whether it’s 10 cents, 50 cents, a dollar.”

It’s advice Charlotte is taking to heart. She is saving the remaining prize money for something special in the future, according to her mother.

At the March 23 ceremony, James-Henry Parkinson, a fourth-grader who found a penny dated 1847, was named runner-up and received $50. As arranged, Arrowhead’s PTA was the recipient of the $500 prize.

by -
0 1327
Gold Coast Bank’s Setauket branch, at the corner of Route 25A and Bennetts Road. Photo by Donna Newman

By Wenhao Ma

In little more than eight years, John Tsunis’ Gold Coast Bank has gone from one location in Islandia to a publicly-traded company with six branches on Long Island, and another opening in downtown Brooklyn.

Now he’s contemplating the bank’s first branch in Manhattan, because many of the customers and stockholders on Long Island are also residents of New York City.

“I don’t want to build a wall between us and New York City,” Tsunis said.

Tsunis, 65, has multiple business interests. He is not only the chairman and chief executive officer of Gold Coast Bank, but is also on the board of directors of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, and the founder and CEO of Islandia-based Long Island Hotels. He opened the first Holiday Inn Express franchise on Long Island in Stony Brook in 1991, which was the first in the United States.

According to Gold Coast Bank’s 2016 second quarter report, its net income reached $573,000, a 178 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. Its assets, deposits and loans have all increased compared to 2015.

The bank also reported year-to-date net income of $991,000.

Gold Coast Bank went public in June, issuing about $9.5 million in shares.

“We are encouraged by our original investors who continue to support our community bank, as well as new investors who have come aboard,” Tsunis said in a statement.

John Tsunis is chairman and CEO of the bank. File photo.
John Tsunis is chairman and CEO of the bank. File photo.

After his first bank, Long Island Commercial Bank, was taken over by New York Community Bancorp in 2005, many clients felt the new, larger bank no longer offered a personal touch. So Tsunis created Gold Coast Bank.

“We used the same model [as we did for Long Island Commercial Bank], almost like a private bank, where we could meet with our neighbors and help them,” Tsunis said. “The bank has a tremendous opportunity to help the development of the growth and the success of the neighbors in our community.”

He said Gold Coast Bank reinvests clients’ deposits right into the community where they are located.

“You deposit money here and we don’t send it to Europe, China or South America like a multinational bank,” he said.

Tsunis remembers when he and his bank helped a Stony Brook restaurant that had trouble funding an expansion.

“That’s not a big enough fish for them,” he said, explaining why the big banks wouldn’t lend money to the restaurant. “For small banks like ours that are in our community, every fish is a big fish.”

Tsunis said he was familiar with the owners, who had been in business for a long time.

“We took that as an opportunity to support the community and a local merchant,” he said, adding that he responded right away.

Tsunis said his father worked in a restaurant in Manhattan. When the son was 12 or 13 years old, he used to go to work with his father every Saturday. His job was to bring coffee and egg sandwiches to the customers, which helped him develop a good work ethic.

Growing up, Tsunis always wanted to be a lawyer and get into the real estate business. He graduated from New York University with honors in banking and finance in 1973, and earned his doctor of law degree from Syracuse University College of Law two years later. Before long he started his own law firm with a personnel comprising himself and a secretary.

“By being a lawyer, I thought I would understand the language of the real estate world and legal world,” he said. “I have tremendous passion for whatever I did. I didn’t want to do anything just for the sake of doing it. I enjoy law, I enjoy practicing land use and I enjoy developing real estate.”

A blueprint for a happy life is what Tsunis would most like to pass on to the next generation.

“Whatever it is that you want to do,” he said, “make sure that you have a smile on your face and the passion for what you want to do because you are going to spend an awful amount of time at work.”

Tsunis is establishing a scholarship at the College of Business at Stony Brook University to help young people who want to enter the business world. He is personally donating $25,000, and the bank will add to that.

Andrew Polan, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said that Tsunis, who is a very active board member in the chamber, likes to get the community involved, recalling that two years ago Tsunis spent $1,000 on tickets to a barbecue at West Meadow Beach, and gave them out free to guests at the Holiday Inn Express.

“Currently, he wants to get all parts of our community, including the faculty, staff and maybe students of our great Stony Brook and Three Village community together to do a huge New Year’s celebration — maybe centered at the new sports arena on campus,” Polan said.

Cris Damianos, vice chairman of the bank, said that Tsunis is a charitable person and a big donor to charitable organizations, adding that he understands doing business is not a one-way street.

To help the community, Damianos said that the bank lends money not only to businesses, but to religious institutions as well.

Tsunis said he believes that his and the bank’s efforts to help the community will pay off.

“I think if we germinate those seeds, those young students, the residents of the New York metropolitan area and international students as well, will help this economy, this county, this state and country to be a better place to live,” he said.

Ethan Agro has always been able to turn tears of sorrow into tears of joy.

Even though he was born with a congenital heart defect, the 12-year-old was always a trooper, and especially so when he needed to lay on an operating table last year and undergo eight hours of open heart surgery to repair his aortic valve.

12-year-old Ethan Agro celebrates after making the Gold Coast Bank three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men's basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU
12-year-old Ethan Agro celebrates after making the Gold Coast Bank three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU

“My husband and I and my family were crying tears of joy,” Ethan’s mother Susan Agro said after the operation went smoothly. “Words cannot describe what a difficult time last year was. It was a really, really hard decision to make and we were really surprised. It was a rough recovery for the first few weeks, but Ethan did great, he had an amazing recovery and we are so grateful.”

Again, on Saturday evening at the men’s home basketball game, Ethan turned the triumph of a successful surgery and recovery into happy tears as he won $500 by banking the Gold Coast Bank three-point halftime shot.

“I was just so grateful that he was able to stand out in front of that crowd and make that shot,” she said. “I was crying tears of joy.”

His mother went to the refreshment stand and while away, a student intern group randomly picked Ethan to attempt the shot. He asked his mother for permission and she said yes without hesitation, although warning her son that no one had made the basket yet this season.

But he did.

Ethan Agro lines up to take his three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men's basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU
Ethan Agro lines up to take his three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU

“I was surprised to see it go in,” Ethan said. “When I was taking the shot I wasn’t focusing on what the crowd was thinking. I was focusing on making the shot. I was so excited, and shooting in front of the crowd was an honor. I always admired those people — wanting to get picked.”

Stony Brook Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing Chris Murray said Ethan was randomly picked, not knowing that the family, which has lived in Mount Sinai for the last 16 years, had been to all of Stony Brook University’s men’s home games for the last five years. The Agros are season ticket holders and especially enjoyed using the games as an escape while Ethan waited six weeks after scheduling his surgery.

“I myself was on the court with Ethan when he hit the shot and his eyes lit up and he began to run in circles, unsure how to contain his excitement,” Murray said. “I couldn’t have been more happy for him, giving him a big hug as soon as we got off the court. Ethan is the most humble and appreciative middle-schooler I have ever met.”

Ethan has been on the court before, taking part in summer camps at the school but said being on the court at that moment was extra special.

Susan Agro said the whole moment was exciting as the boy was cleared to return to all normal activity just three months ago, and being that they are such big fans of the team.

Ethan Agro poses for a photo with Wolfie after banking his three-point shot during the Stony Brook University men's basketball game, winning $500 from Gold Coast Bank. Photo from SBU
Ethan Agro poses for a photo with Wolfie after banking his three-point shot during the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game, winning $500 from Gold Coast Bank. Photo from SBU

“I told Ethan he could’ve danced a little bit with Wolfie,” his mother said, laughing. “But I was completely shocked for the rest of the day. Everyone was high-fiving Ethan after the game and telling him it was a good shot and what a great story, they were all really excited for Ethan. It was an awesome experience.”

Ethan’s father Nick Agro said he was more excited to see his son be able to go back to playing basketball, as the boy competes in an intermural league.

“This was just a sort of culminating moment — to see him stand up there and make that shot was awesome,” he said. “It just solidified that he’s doing so well.”

by -
0 848
Gold Coast Bank’s East Setauket branch is located at 690 Route 25A. File photo

Gold Coast Bank, which calls Route 25A in East Setauket one of its homes, is cashing in with a new branch in Southampton.

The Islandia-based bank filed an application with the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to expand its sixth Long Island branch in the eastern Suffolk community since its launch in 2008.  The new spot is slated for 97 North Sea Road in the Southampton Village business district, adjacent to the Southampton post office.

“We are extremely pleased to announce our plans to open our sixth branch,” said John C. Tsunis, Gold Coast Bank’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Gold Coast has been highly successful since it opened for business, and this new branch serves to confirm our standing as a bank that continues to strengthen its roots in the communities we serve across Long Island.”

Tsunis said the bank recently reported its fourth consecutive year of profitability, making the move to expand an easy decision. The new Southampton location will join the Gold Coast branches across the island, including Mineola, Huntington, Farmingdale and East Setauket. And looking ahead, Tsunis said the bank had big plans for the far eastern end of Suffolk.

“With the opening of this branch, we are certain we will play a very active role in the growth in the Hamptons,” Tsunis said. “Southampton has always had a very large role to play on Long Island, serving as a beacon for business, tourism and the arts. We are excited to further extend the Gold Coast Bank footprint into this vibrant community.”

The announcement of the bank’s expansion came just weeks after another milestone announcement, when the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Program promoted Gold Coast Bank past its new bank, or “de novo,” status. The reclassification moved the bank beyond certain state banking regulations that are typically put in place for newly formed banks.

James P. Johnis, president and chief operating officer of Gold Coast, said the bank’s $323.8 million in total assets as of the end of 2014 propelled the bank into becoming one of Long Island’s premier banking locations.

“This solidifies us as a major part of Long Island’s banking industry, and going forward, we will continue to provide customers with superior personal service while exceeding customer expectations,” he said in a statement when the bank was promoted past new bank status. “This is a major step in our history and a most positive sign of our growth and success.”