2006.09.01: September 1, 2006: Headlines: COS - Tonga: Banking: Michigan Banker: Tonga RPCV Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tonga: Peace Corps Tonga : The Peace Corps in Tonga: 2006.09.01: September 1, 2006: Headlines: COS - Tonga: Banking: Michigan Banker: Tonga RPCV Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust

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Tonga RPCV Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust

Tonga RPCV Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust

Cook, who briefly took timeout from banking and spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga, is a graduate from Lake Superior State University and holds a bachelor's degree. He earned a master's degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University, and has completed post graduate work at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

Tonga RPCV Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust

Doug Cook Named President/CEO Of West Michigan National Bank & Trust; Looks to Keep Bank on Track for a Solid Future
Sep 1, 2006 - Michigan Banker
FRANKFORT The fuel that small community banks continue to thrive in an industry marked by consolidation and mergers is the challenge that Doug Cook eagerly took on when he became president/CEO of West Michigan National Bank & Trust (WMNB&T) last month.


"West Michigan National Bank and Trust is a stellar example of this and I can't wait to get started," he said. "The greatest challenge is going to he to maintain the delicate balance between meeting the growing sophistication of financial needs and requirements of our customers while operating in a brutally competitive marketplace and still meeting the return expectations of our investors." The bank started in 1983 and is locally owned and operated. It has assets of $35 million, and trust assets of $21 million with offices in Frankfort and Manistce. WMN B&T has been named one of the safest and soundest hanks in the state and country by Bauer Financial Reports.

According to Cook, the key to future success is the same as it has always been: your people. "We need to make sure we have highly motivated, exceptionally educated and service-minded people who arc not only up to the challenge, but who are able to achieve the proper balance of enjoyment and fulfillment in what they are doing." Cook succeeds Robert C. Foster, who at the age of 65 is retiring as the top banker, in accordance with WMNB&Ts policy for its president/ CFO. Foster has been elected secretary of the bank's board of directors and will continue with WMNB&T as VP- investments.

Cook began his banking career in 1979 at Ionia County National Bank, where he was SVP-chief lending officer when he accepted the position at WMNB&T. He brings a strong background in branching, operations, and lending. Cook, who briefly took timeout from banking and spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga, is a graduate from Lake Superior State University and holds a bachelor's degree. He earned a master's degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University, and has completed post graduate work at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

"We are pleased to have been able to attract an individual of Mr. Cook's caliber, talents, and experience to the Bank and for the Benzie-Manistee communities where he has been involved with the Audubon Society," emphasized Donald W. Nugent. chairman of the board and WMNB&T's first president.

Rob Foster Reflects on His Tenure

According to Foster, Northern Michigan needs good communily hankers to get involved with local development. "The bank has been a major influence in financing improvements of the local airport over the last 19 years and continues that effort both directly and indirectly." he said. "The directors and officers have been involved with the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corp. that leads major improvements to infrastructure in the five-county area creating jobs and new business opportunities."

Both Foster and Cook share the same philosophy on the positive impact that a community bank can have on a locality. "Community banks including WMNB&T have challenges with the regional based banks, but our friendly service, our can do attitude, and reliability of getting reasonable and quick answers far overshadows that of the larger regional based banks. Our goal is continue to grow in our markets while maintaining what has been already built." Foster emphasized. He said long term he wants WMNB&T to be the best locally owned and operated community bank serving the market.

Cook concurred saying that he sees his role as helping to enhance WMNB&T's current solid market position while maintaining the hank's standing as a high performance company "It is a good earning bank that concentrates on taking care of it customers and its staff. The management and directors have taken the approach that safety and soundness are foremost considerations in the operation of the hank and I appreciate that very much," he said.

Cook noted that adding the trust function in the 1990s has provided the bank with a line of business which sets it apart from much of its traditional competition. "After getting to know Rob Foster and the other directors, I was very impressed by the agreement of direction in which they wish to take the bank and I felt very comfortable that I could fit in and become an active part of that effort." Cook said. He said his immediate goals as president/ CEO are to take advantage of every possible opportunity to get to know the stall and culture of WMNB&T and to get familiar with (he Frankfort and Manistee communities.

"My background is in lending and it will be natural for me to explore opportunities that will help to continue to move the bank along in the direction it has been going. I appreciate very much all the hard work that has been done to get WMNB&T to the point where it is today," he concluded.

Copyright Public Relation Enterprises, Inc. Sep 2006

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