Michigan Bankers Association announces 2019 Banker of the Year


The Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) congratulates Craig Connor, chairman and CEO of County National Bank (CNB), as the 2019 Banker of the Year. The MBA Board of Directors recognizes an industry leader as the MBA Banker of the Year based on their commitment to the Michigan Bankers Association, contributions to the industry, success of their bank, and a strong record of community service.

"Craig Connor is most deserving of this honor. He has dedicated his career to Michigan banking and the development of our industry's future executive bankers," stated T. Rann Paynter, MBA president and CEO. "Craig's banking career spans over four decades, and he has been devoted exclusively to community banking and exemplifies the professional and leadership qualities set forth in the criteria for the nominees for the award."

As a resident of Hillsdale, with a 41-year banking career, Connor began his career at Litchfield State Savings Bank/Michigan Bank Midsouth, then later accepting employment at Adrian State Bank. He served in the positions of commercial and agricultural lender, compliance officer, and vice president of mortgage lending. In 1993, Connor joined CNB in the position of Senior Loan Officer. He successfully navigated the Bank though the financial crisis of 2008. CNB not only survived, but thrived during this difficult period, primarily as a result of the strength of the Bank's loan portfolio which Connor supervised for most of the preceding fifteen years. He became a member of the Michigan Bankers Association Bank Management Committee in 2004 and was elected to the board in 2012.

"I am truly honored to be selected 2019 Banker of the Year by the Michigan Bankers Association" stated Connor. "The Michigan banking industry has provided me with a rewarding challenging career along with the opportunity to work with and learn from so many outstanding bankers and customers over four decades. I also want to recognize and commend the strong efforts and advocacy for Michigan banks by the Michigan Bankers Association for the past 132 years."

Throughout his career, Connor has been an active member of the community. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Hillsdale Hospital, as chairman of its Finance Committee. Previously, he served the Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations including the Hillsdale County Services Center and the Hillsdale Chamber of Commerce. Connor also served for several years as a member of the board of the Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities, a local municipal utility. In addition to his community participation, Connor has contributed to the community by serving as a youth hockey and soccer coach.

"The Michigan Bankers Association has made an outstanding choice in electing Craig as Banker of the Year," said Tim Jewell, MBA chairman and president & CEO of Eaton Federal Savings Bank. "His commitment to banking and his community is unsurpassed. Hillsdale County National Bank has had great success and growth under Craig's leadership which is a testament to his abilities. I've known Craig for a number of years and am particularly appreciative of the time he took to help me when I was a young CEO just learning how to guide an organization."

"For nearly 20 years I have observed Craig's dedication to community banking and the betterment of the areas we serve," stated John Waldron, president of County National Bank. "He is a great leader and his commitment has resulted in the outstanding bank that CNB has become."

The MBA will be honoring Connor at its 133rd Annual Convention on Mackinac Island in June.

Published: Fri, Mar 29, 2019