We Want Your Feedback!


Your thoughts and insight are important to all of us here at Great Lakes Banker. After all, we are YOUR regional banking magazine. So, please click here to take our survey. Thanks!


From the Publisher's Page


This is Shaping-up to be a Busy Summer!


There is a lot happening this summer. First, everyone here wishes Michigan’s Don Jefferey a happy 90th birthday. Don has been a force in Michigan banking for decades, as well as a great friend going back to the earliest days of Michigan Banker. Like many others in Michigan’s banking community, it’s been a privilege for us to know him, and we look forward to continuing to seeing him at banking events in the Great Lakes state for years to come.


Speaking of good friends, great bankers, and retirement, I would also like to congratulate Camden Fine on his upcoming retirement

from the ICBA. He’s retiring next May after a highly successful run as head of the ICBA, and he will be missed. Word is, his replacement is Rebecca Romero-Rainey, immediate past ICBA Chairman, and Chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos, N.M. She is a third-generation community banker, and has served ICBA and the community banking industry for 20 years. We wish her all the best in her new role. We know she’ll do a great job.


Finally, I am pleased to report that as of July 13th, the Financial Choice Act that passed the House of Representative in June has been taken up by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The Committee has held a hearing on the legislation, but don’t look for the kind of speedy passage that we saw in the House. The “Greatest Deliberative Body in the World”

as the Senate is sometimes called, tends to work at its own, stately, often glacial pace.


Best Wishes to All,


Greg O’Neil

Publisher, Great Lakes Banker


The August 2017 Issue

Coming Soon to a

Mailbox Near You!!!

On the Cover of Great Lakes Banker

Plante Moran:

Building Relationships,

Forging the Future


By Charles M. Cooper


“When Frank Moran partnered with Elorion Plante to create Plante Moran, he wanted to build something that would endure for years to come — a people-first business that believed in and lived by the Golden Rule,” said Plante Moran’s Financial Services Group Leader, Brian Pollice. “That relationship-oriented philosophy has become the foundation upon which we’ve built our practices, and our banking practice is no

exception.”A thirty-six year company veteran, Pollice worked his way up from Auditor, to Manager, and then Partner concentrating on Plante Moran’s banking clients. During that time, he’s led the growth of the firm’s banking practice, a major part of which has been the recruitment of talented and experienced individuals, people like Kris Hoefler, Rob Bondy, and Brady Nitchman. This is their story of how hard work, expertise, and especially that focus on relationships has made all the difference.


Growing in Ohio

Starting out as a CPA in Wisconsin, Kris Hoefler’s commitment has always been to community banks. After eight years in public accounting, she moved to the other side of the desk, stepping into a bank CFO position

in Michigan. “Leaving public accounting wasn’t an easy decision,” she said. “I had a great experience with the bank and learned a lot, but I found that my true passion was actually working with multiple institutions, leveraging my experience to help address challenges,

and collaborating on many different issues.”


So, a year after taking the position with that community bank, Hoefler came to the attention of Brady Nitchman who, along with Jon Chism, eventually recruited her to Plante

Moran. It wasn’t long before she moved to Columbus to open a Plante Moran banking practice there. “The move to Columbus and starting the practice in Ohio was largely an unknown to me,” said Hoefler, “but I had the support of the full practice, and together we made a significant impact in the marketplace in a relatively short time. We quickly developed relationships with the state banking association, state and federal regulators, attorneys serving the industry, and other

similar accounting and consulting firms. Networking had been, and continues to be, a focus for all of our team members.”

Hoefler has, for the past 25 years,

concentrated on external audit and risk management, primarily internal audit and regulatory compliance, all within the banking industry. “The majority of my time over the last ten years has focused on risk management

and helping institutions with processes, controls, and addressing complicated issues.”


Issues like The Great Recession, which was difficult for banks everywhere. Hoefler and her team leveraged their skills and experience, and the strength of the entire firm, to help a number of Ohio banks get through those

times; but first and foremost, they showed how the firm’s penchant for relationships and future thinking made everything work. “Risk management activities were in need of update for a number of banks,” she said. “There were bank internal auditors focusing primarily on branch audits, and they didn’t understand the bigger picture issues that needed to be addressed from an audit perspective. When we came in, we did so as partners in solving their issues. We looked at their situation,

pinpointed the problems, and developed solutions that worked for the bank and for the regulators, who we know very well. That’s what it comes down to, relationships.

Plante Moran maintains solid relationships with all involved.”


While external audits continue to be a part of

Hoefler’s bank practice, risk management consulting remains the most fulfilling part of her role, as good risk management helps banks to build a more solid future. “Over the past five plus years, we saw an opportunity

in the market to assist a number of larger community banks with enhancing risk management activities, especially after the most recent credit crisis,” said Hoefler. “We’ve been successful in working with Audit

Committees and management teams to help banks improve their programs and, in a number of situations, satisfy increased regulatory scrutiny in the area of risk



Growing in West Michigan

Rob Bondy got his start as an intern with the firm in the winter of 1998. A year later, after graduating from Aquinas College, he joined Plante Moran full time in the assurance practice. Then, in 2001, he began to work

with community banks. “There had been some turn over in our senior staff, and I was asked to step up on some of our bank clients across Michigan,” said Bondy. “At that point, we were serving just a handful of banks out of our Grand Rapids office with virtually no clients in Illinois or Indiana.” That was the beginning, but the office grew from there, and Bondy with it.


“In 2004, Sarbanes Oxley rolled out, and many of the community banks needed help in implementation of what we now call SOX 404,” said Rob. “Kris Hoefler and I spent nine weeks in Kentucky and another four weeks

in Southern Indiana working with every department of multiple community banks as they were forced to implement SOX. That was a tremendous education for me and provided the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the industry. Our clients across our footprint

continued to be a significant source of growth for us — they weren’t afraid to refer us to their peers. That was about the time I committed to building expertise and realized the potential for client referrals within a tight network of community bankers.”


Story continues here.

Great Lakes Banker is published by Michigan Banker LLC © 2016