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County National Bank pro­moted eight employees at the end of 2021. Two of the pro­moted employees serve at the Hillsdale Branch. Kelly Lantis ’86 was pro­moted to vice pres­ident, com­mercial credit officer; Ray Briner was pro­moted to Com­mercial Loan Officer.

CEO John Waldron said it is uncommon to promote so many employees at once, but that the pro­mo­tions were awarded based on performance.

“We just hap­pened to have a number of people that were due,” Waldron said. “At year end, we had a number of indi­viduals that had per­formed well enough to a level it was time to promote them.”

Seven employees were pro­moted to a vice pres­ident position. 

“That’s a pretty high title for our company,” Waldron said. “Some com­panies seem to have a lot of vice pres­i­dents. We, his­tor­i­cally, have not.”

Kelly Lantis was pro­moted to vice pres­ident – com­mercial credit officer. She has worked for CNB since 1988, and helped create the CNB credit department, which she cur­rently manages. Her husband Jeff Lantis works for Hillsdale college; the couple have had four children graduate from the college.

“Kelly has been an integral key to CNB’s credit quality and culture for many years,” Chairman of the Board Craig Connor said. “The bank, our cus­tomers, and our share­holders have ben­e­fited greatly from Kelly’s long-held ded­i­cation to her work.”

In her spare time, Lantis serves the Hillsdale com­munity as a board member of the Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation, trea­surer of the Hillsdale Woman’s Club, financial adviser of Chi Omega Sorority, trea­surer of Woman’s Life Insurance Society, and trea­surer for Hillsdale Township.

Ray Briner, who was pro­moted to com­mercial loan officer, started his career at CNB in 2009. He has worked for CNB both as a credit analyst and as a lender in the com­mercial loan department.

“Ray has served our com­mercial clients well, and was instru­mental in assisting clients with Pay­check Pro­tection Program loans throughout both phases of the program,” according to a press release.

In his free time, Briner rep­re­sents the Hillsdale com­munity on the Hillsdale City Council for Ward Four, the sec­retary and board member of the Exchange Club, and board member and trea­surer of the Hillsdale County Fair. 

Waldron said the recent pro­mo­tions demon­strate CNB’s presence and respect in the Hillsdale community.

“It lets people know, cus­tomers, coworkers, people in the com­munity: if you’re at a vice pres­ident level in most com­panies and espe­cially here, it means you’re a sea­soned banker,” Waldron said. “It means you’re pretty highly thought of by your company. It brings a heavier weight to those in the com­munity or those cus­tomers that you’re dealing with. It’s a big deal. It means you’ve put your time in.”

CNB is in the top 10 pub­licly traded banks in Michigan, according to Waldron. For a bank so suc­cessful to be head­quar­tered in Hillsdale speaks to the strength of the town, Waldron said.

“Hillsdale is a rel­a­tively small town. You have a number of people that have had great success and been pro­moted, and a number of people that have con­tributed to the growth of a highly respected bank that’s head­quar­tered in Hillsdale County,” Waldron said. “They’ve greatly con­tributed to the success of the company. The bank is very highly thought of throughout the state.”