Former MBA Chairman, Craig Goodlock, Honored as 2009 Banker of the Year
By BILL PERRY
MUNITH — “Humbled and honored;” that’s how Craig Goodlock, president/CEO of Farmers State Bank in Munith, described his thoughts after first hearing the news that he had been named 2009 Banker of the Year by the Michigan Bankers Association. “I remember those who have preceded me in receiving Banker of the Year, several of whom I consider my mentors and many of whom I consider to be world class bankers.” He was recently honored at the MBA Banker of the Year Reception at the
Perry Banking School on the campus of . He is being recognized this month at MBA Annual Convention held at the Grand Hotel, Central Michigan University Mackinac Island.
Goodlock, who has been working in banking for more than 30 years, has been a big part of the industry and the MBA. He served as the 2004 MBA chairman and also has served as chairman for the
of Banking Board of Trustees. He is currently an instructor of the Perry School of Lending; state membership chairman for the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and serves on the American Bankers Association membership council. Robert M. Perry School
He’s been there through the good times and the bad and has some very direct advice for his banker colleagues as they work through today’s challenges: “Don’t trust the government to help you. Throughout history governmental assistance has come with strings attached. We should expect the same today,” he emphasized. “Focus on the customer. He’s the one who pays the bills. Be careful about cutting training, education, and marketing budgets. We’ll need better trained staff to recover.”
And Never Forget From Where You Came
The son of a dairy farmer, Goodlock heads a bank with assets over $65 million, but still feels at home with Ayrshire steers that he trained as oxen. “Put me in the barn with the cows, and I’m happy,” he said. “I hope to start training another team soon. Also, I do a fair amount of lay preaching at a number of local churches. I love spreading the word of God.”
Looking back on the people who helped him succeed as a banker one name stands out: Jim Conboy, former president/CEO of Citizens National Bank in Cheboygan. “My earliest recollection of bank compliance training involves Jim counseling a class of bankers that we could not discriminate against a female borrower just because she was pregnant and her income might be interrupted,” Goodlock explained. “Jim demonstrated for me the influence one can have by being kind, gentle, resolute, and right.”
It’s a business philosophy that Goodlock follows today. Each year a banker is selected Banker of the Year based on contributions made to bank success, commitment to the MBA, service to other banks and a strong record of community involvement. “
Craig Goodlock is an outstanding leader in both the banking industry and his community,” added Dennis Koons, president/CEO of the MBA. “I can’t think of any banker more deserving of this distinction.”
Thoughts on the Future
Looking down the road Goodlock urged his fellow bankers to lobby hard to protect the dual banking system. “In the long run, we simply need a chance to compete. As the saying goes, ‘All politics are local.’ As long as we community banks are allowed to compete on a level playing field with other financial service providers, I’m very content to let the local customer decide which bank does the better job for him,” he stressed.
Goodlock praised his board of directors for adopting a conservative approach to capital retention. He said it is has been the bank’s saving grace today. “Never would I have thought that our real estate loan portfolio would tarnish as quickly and deeply as it has. Kudos to my board who never really seriously considered increasing returns on equity by paying out accelerated dividends or other techniques to reduce the denominator in the return on equity ratio.”
Goodlock said for now Farmers State Bank is committed to mitigating problems in its loan portfolio caused by reduced customer income and consumer confidence and its impact on real estate values. He also emphasized the importance of continuing staff training and a new product implementation schedule as he anticipates a quickly improving business environment. “I think the future is full of promise,” he added.
Family and Faith — Most Important
For Goodlock that faith in the future is rooted in his strong spiritual core. He believes that his best customer is one who is a financially astute customer, and to that end, he teaches a six week faith based budget class. He also gets his bank involved in school programs to enhance financial education in that venue. “We refer customers who are struggling to a debt counseling service through the Community Advantage program. Community Advantage also offers home ownership counseling, and we work very hard one on one with customers who are experiencing financial stress.”
According to Goodlock his bank has worked with customers facing difficult times through loan restructuring to reduce interest rates, interest only payments, deed in lieu of foreclosure arrangements that involve returning the property to the borrower if certain payment criteria are met over time, and other arrangements to try to keep well intentioned and diligent borrowers in their homes.
For Goodlock when he looks back at his success it could only have happened with the support he receives from his family, especially his wife Laurie. “When we were first married, I was the new president/CEO of Farmers State Bank having taken over from a predecessor who retired after 45 years with the bank. His predecessor had retired after 58 years with the bank. Yet during both of those officers’ long tenure, they limited their extra curricular activities to the local community,” he recalled.
“Laurie told me I could be a little less provincial. ‘If you stick with me, fella,’ she said, ‘I’ll be sure you go places.’ I’m glad I’ve stuck with her, or should I say, she with me. She’s been a most excellent supporter, sounding board, counselor, and friend. And she was right.”
Craig and Laurie have made a great team traveling together and representing the bank and the industry. “We’ve visited some very interesting and enjoyable locales. But, more importantly, I’ve also been able to go to some of the most revered and sacrosanct places imaginable – specifically, the inner sanctum of customers’ financial situations and thereby for many the very essence of their spiritual lives, too. What a privilege we have as community bankers to be invited to assist customers in some of life’s most basic yet consequential decisions. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding career.”