GRAND RAPIDS — Changes in the Michigan management structure at Huntington Bank are designed to better enable the lending institution to gain market share across the state.
As Jim Dunlap gives up the role of regional president to focus solely on Huntington’s statewide strategy, veteran banker John Irwin steps into the role as West Michigan market leader. Irwin has been in banking for 32 years, the last 11 years with Huntington. He most recently worked as Huntington’s corporate regional banking manager.
Irwin reports to Dunlap and will collaborate with his counterpart in east Michigan, Steve Fezzey, to build the bank’s statewide focus.
The move shows an additional commitment to the Michigan market by Huntington through an expanded executive leadership team, Dunlap said.
“We believe that we have created capacity on behalf of Huntington for the state to utilize and I hope the state will seize this,” said Dunlap, who also oversees 11 regional markets in the Midwest for the Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington.
“Our focus and intention is continuing to intensify. The Midwest is our home, it is our primary and single commitment and it is the goal of our company to be seen as the bank of the Midwest,” Dunlap said. “As Michigan has become even more of an important piece of Huntington and we see forward opportunities continuing to develop … I wanted to create more capacity for me to focus on those things that I could spend more time on in Michigan generally.”
Dunlap will continue his involvement in organizations such as Business Leaders for Michigan, The Right Place Inc. board of directors and the West Michigan Policy Forum, where he serves as co-chair. He’s also incoming chairman of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
Giving up the day-to-day duties of regional president for West Michigan allows him more time to focus on strategy and building those and other partnerships for Huntington that bolster its presence. Under one of those partnerships, forged in 2011 with the state, Huntington pledged to lend $2 billion over four years to small and mid-sized business in Michigan.
As the bank pursues further growth statewide, it will consider an acquisition if an opportunity arises, although the emphasis is on growing within its existing footprint, Dunlap said. While the bank has been growing organically “very, very nicely,” it would look with great scrutiny at any acquisition opportunity because of the resources such a deal would consume, he said.
“We have nothing that we believe is so strategically important to do that,” Dunlap said. “That leaves then opportunistic acquisitions. As they come up, as they become available, we will look at them, but the lens we will put them through is: Is this so important to us to divert these resources from what we do normally? If it doesn’t rise to that, we will move on to our continuing agenda we have had the last few years, which is serving us very well.”
Irwin takes over operations of one of the leading banks in the region, particularly in the Grand Rapids area, where Huntington ranked fourth out of 29 banks in the 2012 FDIC Summary of Deposits and has 22 offices. The bank has 67 offices in the West Michigan region, which stretches from the Straits of Mackinac to the Indiana border and from Lansing to Lake Michigan.