Announcing the promotion of Akbar Rizvi, President & Chief Lending Officer
A Spring Bank Staff Feature

We are excited to announce the appointment of Akbar Rizvi, our Chief Lending Officer (CLO), to President and CLO. Akbar will serve in both roles as we expand our reach and impact across New York City.

Spring Bank is on the cusp of tremendous growth and change, with our newest commercial real estate office in Queens, our first Brooklyn location set to open this year, and plans to open our second South Bronx location. Akbar is excited for the future and proud of how far the bank has come and the growth he has helped to foster over thirteen years. It’s our customers’ stories and dedication to their businesses that motivate Akbar daily.

“I’m so proud of the work we do at Spring Bank. One of my favorite parts is listening to our customers’ stories, backgrounds, and what they’ve been through. We’ve helped our clients through some very difficult situations that otherwise would have led them to lose a property or end up in a challenging financial situation. We look to be a partner and provide guidance and support to our clients, and we strive to do this with clarity and honesty,” says Akbar.

The oldest of four, Akbar grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, in a three-bedroom apartment with ten family members. His family’s work ethic and first few job experiences solidified the values Akbar abides by today: commitment, active listening, win-win negotiation, and always leading with empathy, honesty, transparency, respect, and trust.

“I grew up in a hard-working, working-class family. My parents held numerous jobs, and they didn’t take days off. No matter what was happening, they got up and went to work the next morning,” Akbar explains.

At age 12, Akbar started selling newspaper subscriptions. He also became a messenger for a travel agency and took on odd jobs. But it was his first restaurant job that changed the trajectory of his life; starting on his first day, he saw the power of his professional drive and the fruit of his hard work.

With zero industry experience, Akbar applied to be a busser at a high-end restaurant on Long Island overlooking the sound. The manager met him but told him he needed prior experience and to apply elsewhere. But as Akbar drove home, he realized he wanted that job. So, he turned around, went back to the restaurant, and, without a plan, asked to speak to the manager again.

“Before he could say anything,” Akbar shares, “I said, look, I know I don’t have experience, but I’ll work here for free for a week. And if you don’t like it, if I’m not working the way you want, then no issues, but give me a chance.”

Seeing his determination, the manager hired Akbar on the spot and, after his first day, promoted him from busser to food runner. He worked his way up at the restaurant for five years, paying his way through college.

“That moment changed my life. I didn’t have a plan, but I knew I didn’t want to give up. Not only did I get that job, but I also excelled at it. It showed me not to give up. People might pass on you, but you have to push yourself and fight for what you want. And you can’t be willing to give up so easily if it’s something you really believe in,” shares Akbar.

We are so grateful Akbar carries this ethos into his banking profession and leadership with us today. After graduating from the CW Post Campus of Long Island University through the Higher Education Opportunity Program, he worked for five years at a midsize bank in Manhattan. Quickly promoted to Loan Officer, he launched, developed, and ran the ins and outs of their first SBA, small business program. Then, in 2011, he was introduced to our CEO, Demetris Giannoulias.

“The synergy between us was instantaneous. It felt like the right partnership,” explains Akbar. “I was inspired by Spring Bank’s mission of financial inclusion in the South Bronx, and I was looking for a challenge. I knew I could continue learning with this team.”

Though some friends and colleagues found it odd for Akbar to transition from a billion-dollar-plus bank in midtown Manhattan to a small community bank in the Bronx, he knew it was an incredible opportunity—and he’s never looked back. He’s committed to creating access to affordable capital for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and people who have been excluded from the financial system.

“Our customers are not customers who fit into checkboxes. Many have faced adversity and do not have perfect credit profiles. So, we do our best, do our due diligence, and think outside the box, to see if and how it can make sense. Because we don’t do cookie-cutter deals, our approach requires patience, listening, and understanding of the borrower’s unique situation and requests,” explains Akbar.

The innovative and human-centered approach Akbar and our team apply to commercial, consumer, small business, and non-profit lending allows many of our customers to receive the capital and credit-building tools that they may not be considered for elsewhere.

“Our personalized approach is so important because the South Bronx is still the poorest congressional district in the United States. So, imagine getting a loan or establishing a credit profile,” explains Akbar. “When someone comes to us and improves their credit profile, it can make a significant difference down the road.”  

To support our customers, Akbar, and our lending teams have spent many years creating and adapting products that do not require a credit score or income verification and can often help people establish and build credit, like our Credit Builder Loan. We also accept the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and IDNYC as identification for opening bank accounts and conducting other banking transactions. Akbar and our team are always here with an open door to help you navigate your financial journey and answer your questions.

Thank you to Akbar for sharing your story and for your continued leadership and service to our community! Learn more about our unique commercial real estate and small business programs. Find out why we are the best community bank in New York