Banking & Finance and Human Resources

Bank names president and CEO

January 18, 2017
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Dan Blitzen
Daniel Bitzer. Courtesy First National Bank of Michigan

A bank in the region looked within to find its new president and CEO.

Kalamazoo-based First National Bank of Michigan promoted Daniel Bitzer to the role, effective Jan. 1.

Bitzer had served as president of the bank since December 2015, overseeing the activities of all locations.

As part of the succession plan, Jefra Groendyk will remain senior lender and Grand Rapids market president, and John Schreuder will serve as senior executive and co-chairman.

“Dan’s promotion to president and CEO reflects his proven performance and follows the board-approved management succession plan,” said Larry Lueth, senior executive and board co-chair, First National Bank of Michigan. “I have tremendous confidence in his leadership skills and trust he will continue the bank’s legacy of success.”

Bitzer said he looks forward to “building upon our long-standing investment in the community and commitment to delivering unmatched customer service.”

Bitzer’s background

Bitzer joined First National Bank of Michigan in 2011 as president of the Grand Rapids market.

In 2014, he was promoted to EVP and senior leader, following the bank’s successful expansion into the Grand Rapids market, with Bitzer helping to grow that location to more than $100 million in loans and about $57 million in deposits.

Prior to joining First National Bank of Michigan, Bitzer worked in commercial banking in West Michigan for more than 30 years.

Previously, he managed PNC Bank’s commercial real estate portfolio for Michigan and northwest Ohio and its predecessor banks, National City and First of America. He also specialized in tax exempt and taxable bond financing with the bank, prior to joining the commercial real estate division in 1999.

Currently, Bitzer sits on the board of the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the Commissioning Committee for the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ferris State University and an M.B.A in economics from Western Michigan University, where he also became an instructor in the economics department.

First National Bank of Michigan

Founded in Kalamazoo in 2006, First National Bank of Michigan expanded to Portage in 2008 and a second Kalamazoo location in 2010, followed by a Grand Rapids location in 2011.

The bank reported managing more than $416 million in assets in 2015.

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