Highpoint CEO earns ‘Best of Community Banking’ award
Highpoint Community Bank leadership team is, from left: Rob Ranes, Kim Finkbeiner, Mark Kolanowski, Jane DeBat, Randy Teegardin, Richard Zwiernikowski and Nancy Goodin. (Photo provided.)
Mark Kolanowski, president and CEO of Highpoint Community Bank, received the “Best of Community Banking” Award for 2019.
This honor, conferred by the 250-member Community Bankers of Michigan, was announced at CBM’s 44th Annual Convention recently. Kolanowski, who was chosen by his peers to receive the award, said he was both humbled and honored to receive it.
“I accept this award from my community bank peers as recognition of what I have done for community banking throughout the years,” he said when the award was presented. “Receiving the award has motivated me to look for even more ways I can contribute to the community over the next several years — and to the bank I have been so fortunate to lead.”
Kolanowski has been president and CEO of HCB, formerly Hastings City Bank, for more than 18 years.
“During his tenure, he has led his team through the many changes and innovations that new technologies allow,” said Nancy Goodin, Highpoint’s vice president and marketing director.
Kolanowski has kept the strength of the bank at the forefront, Goodin said, which is reflected, in part, by 40 consecutive quarters during which Highpoint Community Bank has been awarded a five-star rating from Bauer Financial.
“Through his leadership, the bank has seen significant improvement in both its balance sheet and income statement,” she pointed out. “He was tasked with navigating the bank through the Great Recession, keeping the bank on course throughout and thriving thereafter.”
A hallmark of Kolanowski’s leadership is his focus on his staff, Goodin said. For the 11th consecutive year, Highpoint has been recognized as one of the best and brightest companies to work for in West Michigan.
In conferring the honor, Michael J. Tierney, CBM president and CEO, called Kolanowski “an excellent role model for all community bankers with what he has done for the bank, his employees, and perhaps most importantly, the community.”
Kolanowski serves on the Barry County United Way executive committee and is a past president and campaign chairman. He has served on the Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital Board and its foundation.
In 2015, HCB chose to partner with the Barry Community Foundation to enroll every kindergarten student in Barry County in an education savings program called Kickstart to Career. That program is in its fourth year.
Kolanowski also was the chairman of the Barry County Economic Development board. Communities benefited from his contributions so greatly that, earlier this year, he received the Barry County Chamber ROTH award for being an outstanding business professional, Goodin noted.
“His commitment to serving extends beyond the communities we serve – he has served on Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) committees, including education, tax and regulatory review, and previously represented all Michigan community bankers as the ICBA federal delegate,” she added.
He has been a member of the CBM board since 2006 and is a past board chairman.
Earlier this year, Kolanowski led HCB through a name change. Through his leadership and guidance, this was accomplished more smoothly than expected and re-energized staff, Goodin said. “We are now the bank that elevates the communities we serve, which better describes who we are now and how we see our future.”
In accepting the award, Kolanowski said, “I’m passionate about my work, my team, my customers, my community, my bank. To be recognized for that passion, to know that others have noticed something that is so meaningful and important to me, is an incredibly gratifying feeling.”
Kolanowski and his wife Susan have two sons, Mitchell and Benjamin.
The “Best of Community Banking” Award recognizes the contributions and success of a Michigan community banker. Special recognition is given to community bankers who have made significant contributions to their communities and the community banking industry.