National City Hires President

January 20, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Steven Alexander, regional president of National City Bank in West Michigan, has been promoted to executive vice president and senior credit underwriter for all of the bank’s markets in Michigan, with the exception of Detroit.

Sean P. Welsh, most recently a senior vice president and division manager for National City’s middle-market banking in Chicago, will take over as regional president Feb. 1, with responsibility for corporate banking.

“I’m really pleased that my replacement is Sean Welsh,” Alexander said. “He and I worked together in the early ’90s. He is going to do an excellent job.

“He’s been in the ultimate growth market for us, which is Chicago, and he’s done an excellent job there. He has the credentials to pull it off here in West Michigan.”

National City President and CEO Timothy J. Lather credited Alexander with building a team of accomplished bankers and increasing National City’s business banking presence in the West Michigan market.

“The momentum gained under his leadership has enabled our bank to become a major player for middle and upper-middle market companies seeking an accomplished financial partner,” he stated.

Alexander has served as regional president since May 2000. He will continue working from National City regional headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids.

The company also announced Monday it was relocating 20 staff people to Grand Rapids over the next several months to boost its credit administration for the state.

Credit administration assists corporate banking officers in underwriting corporate and commercial credit and provides approval support for new loan relationships, Alexander said.

Credit administration is also responsible for recruiting and training corporate analysts.

National City is relocating existing credit analyst positions from throughout its Michigan operation and consolidating that function here, Alexander explained.

“These folks are credit analysts, which are predominantly just-out-of-college positions. The idea is that they spend a couple of years as credit analysts, and then they become corporate bankers.

“This is an excellent area from which to recruit and train future corporate bankers. It’s an upscale urban setting that’s attractive to college grads looking for employment. We also have a good base of business colleges here to recruit from.”

Both Alexander and Welsh were credit analysts when they started with National City and have extensive credit backgrounds.

For the last three years Welsh has been responsible for recruiting, training, developing and overseeing a team of 30 middle market corporate bankers in Chicago.

Welsh said moving the credit administration piece to Grand Rapids reflects a commitment to the West Michigan area.

“The level that’s needed to be promoted to have that job in Grand Rapids stresses our commitment,” he added.

Welsh has been in banking since 1986. He worked in the southwest Michigan market for a number of years with First of America, National City’s predecessor.

While a part of the corporate finance group, he covered the state of Michigan and did a lot of calling in the West Michigan market, so he knows the area, he said.

Looking ahead, Welsh said National City has to continue to maintain the momentum that has occurred because of Alexander’s leadership.

“We can’t miss a beat with that,” he said. “We need to continue to build customer service quality and value-added interaction with every client that we see.

“Those types of activities will continue to position National City as a bank people seek out to bank with and earns a right to be a leader in the market.”           

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