As president and CEO of Flushing Bank since July 2005, John R. Buran has played a key role in the company’s continued success, as well as its ability to overcome challenges facing Long Island, the banking industry, and the country.
Before taking over, he served as the bank’s executive vice president and COO beginning in January 2001. Prior to joining Flushing Bank, he held senior positions at both Fleet Bank and Citibank.
We recently spoke with Buran to discuss his company, its mission, and the importance of giving back to the communities Flushing Bank serves.
Do you have any sayings? As a matter of fact, I have one hanging in my office: “It can be done.” It inspires a positive attitude and means that nothing is impossible. If you put the right resources, thought, and effort into any challenging situation, a solution can be found.
What is your company’s mission? Quite simply, our mission is to build profitable customer relationships to enhance shareholder value. We are committed to being the preeminent community financial services company in our multicultural market area by exceeding customer expectations.
How significant is the Long Island market for your company? We have three branch locations on the Island currently. A few years ago, we relocated our corporate headquarters to Uniondale. We serve many customer segments including the personal, business, and commercial segments. Our Government Banking team serves many public entities on Long Island, along with towns and villages, water, fire and school districts. We will continue to expand prudently as opportunities present themselves.
What specific challenges are present in the Long Island market? Long Island is a large and diverse market with many segments that require a targeted approach to ensure that we meet the needs of the market. Our goal in any new market is to develop a presence and provide something above and beyond what a big bank provides. Our community-based approach is about building sustainable relationships with our customers. I grew up in New York City but spent most of my adult life on Long Island and raised my family here, so I consider it my home.
Why are charitable initiatives important to your company? As a community bank, Flushing Bank is committed to giving back to the communities we serve. Over the years, we have contributed millions of dollars to charitable organizations that make a difference in our community. We are proud to sponsor cultural and charitable events throughout our markets. Our work within the community does not end when the workday ends. Many of our employees participate as board members or volunteers of local community organizations. Their participation helps keep us connected with the community and supports the economic and social vitality of the communities we serve.
Why did Flushing Bank decide to partner with Island Harvest? Island Harvest has become Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization. It provides hunger awareness and education and is a key ally for our community. Flushing Bank has three branch locations on Long Island and serves many customers who live and/or work on Long Island, as do many of our employees.
What philanthropic effort or efforts have you been most proud of? It is difficult to select just one. One that I am particularly proud of is our affiliation with the United Way of Long Island. We have sponsored several initiatives that help students, veterans, and families. A particular program of theirs that stands out in my mind is Project Warmth. Project Warmth’s Emergency Fuel Fund can make a significant difference for families in our region. As Long Island’s only non-government islandwide emergency fuel fund, Project Warmth is a safety net for individuals and families who are unable to pay their heating bill. Supporting organizations such as United Way of Long Island and Island Harvest ensures that the basic necessities of life are addressed for those most in need.
What do you like most about your job and what would you say has been your top accomplishment to date as CEO? The best part of being the CEO of Flushing Bank is leading an organization of extremely talented and dedicated people to deliver outstanding service to our customers throughout Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan each and every day. I think the top accomplishment of my tenure as CEO was ensuring that we not only remained stable, but we grew profitably throughout the recent economic downturn (a.k.a. The Great Recession). We consistently delivered a dividend each quarter and were laser focused on providing value to our shareholders.