George E. Scharpf, the late chairman, CEO and president of Amboy Bank
By Joshua Burd
Amboy Bank is mourning the death of its longtime leader, George E. Scharpf, who spent more than 50 years with the Old Bridge-based community lender.
Scharpf, the bank’s chairman, CEO and president, died suddenly on Jan. 4. He was 78, leaving the business in what Amboy says is its strongest financial position in its history.
“He led by example — at the bank, in the community and at home,” said his son, Gregory Scharpf, who is the bank’s chief operating officer. “His accomplishments as CEO of Amboy Bank were only surpassed by his success as a father and husband.”
In an obituary on Tuesday, Amboy recalled the late chairman as a competitor who “wanted to win — but never at the expense of his deeply held values of honesty, integrity, loyalty and sense of fair play.” Scharpf started his career at the bank in 1969 and became its CEO in 1981, navigating the institution through recessions and other turbulent periods.
The bank noted that its assets and shareholders’ equity in 1969 were $39 million and $2 million, respectively. Under Scharpf’s leadership, those figures have grown to $2.3 billion and $315 million today.
Meantime, Amboy shareholders have received more than $600 million in cash dividends during that span. According to the announcement, the bank has earned more than $160 million over the last five years, including about $30 million in 2018.
“George would often say that the bank will only be successful if our clients are successful,” said Joseph J. DiSepio, vice chairman of Amboy Bancorp. “And if our employees, who are responsible for delivering superior service and products, share in that success as well.”
The bank highlighted the success of an employee stock ownership that Scharpf implemented and considered one of his proudest achievements. Today, Amboy employees and retirees own about 20 percent of the corporation.
Under a previously announced management transition, DiSepio will assume the role of chairman, the bank said, while Gregory Scharpf will take over as CEO and president. Eric Scharpf, current Amboy Bank and Amboy Bancorp. board member, will assume the additional role of vice chairman of the corporation.
In the coming days, Amboy will schedule a “celebration of life” for the late chairman.