PEORIA — When Doug Stewart retires from his position as regional president of PNC Bank in Peoria this summer, the impact will be felt far beyond the banking community he's been a part of for more than 40 years.
The current chairman of Bradley University's board of trustees as well as a board member at Illinois Central College, Stewart's list of community involvements includes the Bielfeldt Foundation, OSF Healthcare System, the Peoria Riverfront Museum and the CEO Council.
"Doug defines being a pillar of the community," said Michael Stephan, president of Heart of Illinois United Way, noting that Stewart and his wife, Vicky, headed up the 2013 United Way campaign in the Peoria area.
"The United Way has directly benefited from Doug's volunteer leadership and generous support," Stephan said. Stewart also previously served on the United Way board.
Don Shafer, a senior vice president at Heartland Bank who worked with Stewart for 20 years starting at Commercial National Bank, called him an outstanding role model for area bankers. "He's had a major impact on the community and done a great job for that institution," he said.
Taking over for Stewart in running PNC's downstate region is Brian Ray, 44, a banker with PNC from Akron, Ohio.
"We've been looking for a successor for over a year. I couldn't be happier that Brian is coming to Peoria and this bank," Stewart said.
While staying in the same building in Downtown Peoria, Stewart 66, worked for four different banks over the years. Starting as a trainee for the Commercial National Bank, he became an employee of First of America Bank after a bank merger in 1989. In 1997, National City bought out First of America, with Stewart taking over as bank president in Peoria. PNC bought out National City in 2008.
Along with observing corporate banking trends, Stewart has seen changes in the industry itself.
"When I started in 1973, Illinois was one of the last states to allow branch banking. Banks were limited to just one location until June 1973. I remember Commercial National Bank at the time had a huge line of windows for customers — some for savings, checking and so on. But now, with technology, we've even gone beyond branches with online banking," he said.
Stewart said he and his wife plan to stay in the Peoria area while spending more time with their grandchildren.
Steve Tarter covers Peoria city and county government. He can be reached at 686-3260 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter@SteveTarter.