MUNSTER | During his 40-plus year banking career, Joel Gorelick has observed and participated in the growing and changing of Northwest Indiana.
On Jan. 16, 2013, the 65-year old Northwest Indiana native and St. John resident will retire as president and chief administrative officer of Peoples Bank, a financial institution he joined in 1983. Gorelick was promoted to that position in 2005.
However, retirement won’t mean giving up any of his community connections or his love of banking, Gorelick said.
“Dave Bochnowksi (Peoples Bank chairman and CEO), Peoples Bank and NorthWest Indiana Bancorp have given me the opportunity to work on strategic projects as a consultant, and I will remain a director of the bank,” he said. “I’ve always been involved in community activities and now I’ll have even more time to devote to those.”
Those projects include the Northwest Indiana Boys & Girls Club. He currently provides oversight to the executive committee of the Tolleston Project, a regional campaign to build a new home for the Boys & Girls Club.
Gorelick is the former president of the Boys & Girls Club and headed the Merrillville Rotary Club.
“I’m interested in economic development and do plan to get more involved with economic development organizations,” said Gorelick who is the founding chairman of the Regional Development Co. and continues to serve as director and chairman of the governance committee of the RDC.
His efforts to support small business development earned him the Small Business Advocate award from the Northwest Indiana Entrepreneurial Excellence program. He was also named the 2000 Board Member of the Year by the National Association of Development Companies.
That interest in economic development is what brought him to Peoples Bank, Gorelick said.
“My best friend growing up in Central Hammond worked here. He said it was family-owned and had a family atmosphere,” he recalled.
Bochnowski explained his vision for extending the bank’s reach into the business community for the first time, Gorelick said.
“I saw was Dave envisioned and I hitched my wagon to Dave’s vision. It’s proven to be a great family,” he said.
Gorelick joined Peoples as vice president for commercial lending and went on to successfully develop the bank’s commercial line. Today that accounts for 65 percent of the bank’s total loan portfolio.
According to Bochnowski, Gorelick helped establish Peoples as a leader in small business lending and had a key role in the development of both the corporate center in Munster and the expansion of People’s footprint in Lake and Porter counties.
“Every day for three decades, Joel has come to work with energy, commitment and a passion for serving the bank’s customers and community, while developing our personnel as a mentor and coach,” said Bochnowski, who will resume the role of president in addition to his current duties when Gorelick retires.