I had the opportunity to interact with Michael Wolnik when he was the President of Wakefield Cooperative Bank and I was opening the Brightview senior living community in Wakefield, MA. Mike and I had similar interests as we were both building business for our enterprises. I found Mike a pleasure to work with and very professional in everything that he did. My impression was that Mike ran a very good show at the bank and all of his associated were easy to work with. We helped him make introductions to our Resitdents and Mike was very helpful to me in introducing me to the local business population.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Michael Wolnik both personally and professionally. On a personal level, I would consider Michael to be one of the most genuine and likable people I know. He is very engaged with everyone he meets and his personality will light up a room. On a professional level, I have witnessed first-hand how he managed to take his last organization as a local bank President to new heights. Michael has a unique combination of operational and strategic insight that would be of tremendous value to any business leader. His ability to network effectively and develop impactful strategic relationships is one of his many strengths. He is a very gifted communicator. His vision and creativity would be an asset to any small business or organization!
Mike served as Wakefield Co-operative Bank’s President and CEO from early 2014 through early 2018 and I served as Treasurer during his tenure. Mike stressed the benefits of teamwork and under his leadership the management team met often to review strategies to improve financial performance in every area of the bank. Many new products were developed/added for the benefit of our customers. During Mike’s tenure total assets increased by $49 million to $221 million, with loans increasing by $54 million to $169 million and deposits increasing by $28 million to $178 million. Mike also managed the investment portfolio and consistently realized securities gains while maintaining an overall investment portfolio yield that was appropriate based upon our conservative risk profile. Mike embraced giving back to the community through regular donations and charitable contributions and in 2017 Wakefield Co-operative Bank was recognized as the Wakefield Business of the Year by the Wakefield/Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce. Mike, I’m confident that your leadership and business skills will contribute to the success of your new venture! Best of luck!
In a career and a life, few people truly say what they mean, and mean what they say. Mike Wolnik is one of those people. A proven professional, Mike has always put the interests of his Clients and the Community before professional ambitions; and because of it, has achieved at levels few have attained. Mike and I met while he was at Wakefield Cooperative Bank and had ascended to the position of President and CEO. Mike believed in investing in the community and was an avid supporter of Small Businesses and Civic Associations alike. He was a driving force behind the development of Wakefield's Main Street initiative and was known for his Open-Door Policy and willingness to directly engage the community. I consider Mike to be the consummate professional and gentleman, and I am proud to be able to call him my Friend.
I’ve known Mike for many years and have had the pleasure to work with him as a client. Mike is a consummate professional with deep knowledge of banking practices and associated risk. His clear attention to risk management and insistence on a strong control environment made my work as an audit professional easy. His approach is rooted in doing things the “right way” and his knowledge and experience ensures his mission in this regard is always fulfilled.
I have known Mike Wolnik for over 5 years in his role as President/CEO of the Wakefield Cooperative Bank. In the time Mike was leading the bank, he made significant changes that enhanced the bank in many ways. Mike instituted a new culture that focused on the communities of Wakefield/Lynnfield. The bank was much more visible at community events including the July 4 th celebration, The Holiday Stroll and the Italian Festival. Several members of the staff volunteered for positions with the above groups and with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and various other organizations. Prior to Mike’s tenure, the bank kept a low profile and the staff was not active or visible at community events. Mike encouraged his staff to be active in the community and the payback to the bank was fantastic as their assets hit an all-time high. Mike committed more bank resources to increasing loans throughout the geographic area they represented. The lending staff increased its visibility and projected a much more positive/friendlier attitude. His focus on team work in the lending process was evident as I heard from many members of the staff that the working environment was very positive. During Mike’s tenure, the bank made a commitment to the small business owners in the area. The bank created new programs geared to small businesses and hosted networking events that are invaluable to owners of small businesses. Under Mike’s leadership, the bank made a huge commitment to the Town of Wakefield for the possible construction of a parking garage. I am also a customer of the bank and saw firsthand that the products they offered were competitive in the market place regarding interest rates and the service at the branches was superior to other institutions. Mike empowered the staff to be client focused and it was evident in working with the different staff members. The Wakefield Cooperative Bank is in a much better position today as it clearly understands the needs of its customers and the communities it serves, and it can thank Mike Wolnik for leading the changes to make it happen.
I had the great pleasure of working with Mike Wolnik developing a pilot business development program for Wakefield Cooperative Bank, working with Mike as its CEO. He had great sense of how to develop the value proposition and how to articulate the Bank's message in a way that would be especially meaningful and appealing to small business owners, the primary target of our campaign. Our pilot was a great success, largely thanks to his insight and guidance. I believe that his ability to understand and relate to small business owners will transcend his banking experience, and be relevant for almost any challenge that they might be facing.
Throughout his tenure at Wakefield Cooperative Bank, Mike led his team with passion, vision, and strong technical skills. His approach and management style produced a highly cohesive, motivated, and happy team that worked hard and effectively at all levels. During his four years as President & CEO, he successfully implemented new contemporary strategies in the areas of small business banking, commercial real estate lending, online and mobile banking, and commercial and retail deposit services, while producing favorable growth, strong asset quality, and consistent earnings. Mike’s understanding of commercial loan structure and administration, technology, and capital markets clearly contributed to the Bank’s performance and growth. Additionally, his skillful management of the Bank’s investment portfolio translated to consistently high returns while maintaining sound risk management practices. Mike was always the ultimate professional and went out of his way to nurture a strong relationship with our team as well as other outside vendors providing professional services to Wakefield Cooperative Bank. He always demonstrated a strong knowledge of accounting and finance matters which assisted us in completing our engagement in a timely and effective manner.
I’m pleased to recommended Mike as an executive in the financial services industry. I first met Mike in the spring of 2014, when his bank (Wakefield Cooperative Bank) brought our loan review/consulting firm in to assist with WCB’s emerging commercial lending business line. Mike had just recently been elevated from CFO to CEO and was in the beginning stages of building infrastructure around his newly hired commercial lending officer. While a finance/accounting guy by trade, it struck me that Mike had a strong understanding of credit, and the nuisances commercial credit in particular. I recall Mike’s challenges included navigating a course of prudent growth for the bank, while working within the directive of the institution’s Board, elevating the credit culture of the institution, and balancing risk and reward within the context of commercial lending at a community bank. Mike’s energy and passion for moving the bank forward and building a strong team were readily evident. Having spent a significant amount of time with Mike and in WCB, it was clear to me that his charges valued his leadership, professionalism and positive approach. From my perspective, Mike was the driving force in moving the bank and its’ people forward. Having been in the banking business for many years, it is not often that the CEO has a solid understanding of credit. Mike understands the risks in commercial lending and has the capacity to bring real value to the underwriting, structuring and negotiation aspects of a sound commercial/residential lending function. I recommend Mike on the basis of his experience, his practical knowledge of banking and credit, and his capacity as a leader. Most notably, Mike is a quality individual.
I had the pleasure of working with Mike at Wakefield Co-operative Bank. Mike was president of the Bank and I managed Loan Servicing. Mike had a vision and energy that was refreshing in the banking industry. Open to new ideas and creative thinking, Mike allowed his team to build on current processes to provide more efficiency. He closely worked with me to develop a servicing strategic plan that would increase efficiency and reduce the need for additional staffing. Mike’s insights were critical in the plans success. Mike understands the need for innovation, resourcefulness, automation and efficiency to compete in today’s market. He is an excellent manager, mentor and innovator!
Mike brings a unique perspective to small business consulting based on his strong leadership and operating experience at the executive and CEO level in multiple banks and the banking clients he has served. In these roles, he has seen first hand what separates successful growth companies from those that stagnate and facefinancial barriers. Mike is a strategic thinker who can help develop actionable plans that can reduce barriers to attracting the right kind of financing for his clients. As a natural leader, he can help his clients engage their team to execute the plan and produce results. Mike’s ability to bridge an understanding of what drives business success and what lenders need to be successful is a unique and valuable skill set. Having Mike as an advisor to help develop strategies and translate them into realistic projections that can attract capital is an invaluable resource.
As an institutional bond salesman with 35 years of experience, including 8 years in research and strategies, I would encourage you to thoughtfully consider Mike as an Executive Advisor. He and I have had a relationship for about 16 years, when he was either a President or CFO at several banks. As the portfolio manager at each institution, he demonstrated masterful skills in structuring the portfolio to achieve Total Returns in the Top 10% of the respective UBPR peer groups. It is always beneficial to be in a position to realize gains when necessary. He also managed with proper consideration of two other primary objectives, liquidity and balance sheet risk. He has a grasp of the germane issues like few others with whom I have done business over my long career.