Randy Dolyniuk: Making His Mark on Local Banking

People

Randy Dolyniuk slaloms once a year just to remind himself that he’s not getting any older. The 62-year-old grandson of North Dakota homesteaders and graduate of the University of Georgia wakes at dawn, jogs a couple of miles and lifts weights. His good habits extend to the way he cares for his family and community, including raising four children with his wife of 30 years, Laura.

Dolyniuk is also an ordained deacon and elder at Providence Presbyterian Church and former chairman of several well-known community boards, including the Mitchelville Preservation Project.

“Mitchelville is the greatest untold story,” Dolyniuk said. “It could be the catalyst to unite our community.”

As an entrepreneur, Dolyniuk has been actively involved in founding five financial institutions in the Southeast, including CoastalStates Bank, where he is founder, chairman and chief executive officer. His bank is the largest private financial institution in Beaufort County.

“The past eight years haven’t been easy for our community, and certainly not for banking,” he said. “Many of my friends and colleagues’ banks didn’t survive.”

How have regulations in the wake of the Great Recession impacted financial institutions? When it comes to regulations, Dolyniuk said, it’s “too much. Congress made a huge mistake with Dodd-Frank. So many people want to blame the recession on banking. No one differentiates between Wall Street banks and Main Street banks. And there’s a huge difference between the two. Wall Street banks care nothing about the citizens of a community. Main Street banks thrive on caring for their communities, providing capital for job creation and economic growth. We strive to be very good corporate citizens.”

If President-elect Donald Trump nominated Dolyniuk to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, which dictates monetary policy, the first thing he would do — although he admits it’s unrealistic — is move the Fed from the influences of Washington politics to an environment with Main Street influences. Dolyniuk said he believes that in Washington, D.C., the influence does not correspond with local issues and values.

“It’s important for Washington to understand that their decisions effect smaller constituencies like South Carolina,” he said.

He would also work to repeal the Dodd-Frank measures — which focus on promoting financial stability by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, ending “too big to fail” banking, protecting consumers from abusive financial services practices, and limiting bank bailouts using taxpayer money — and all the unnecessary regulations that increase the cost of credit for businesses and consumers. 

“Even former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (one of the lawmakers behind the bill) said recently that Congress made a huge mistake, we should have excluded community banks from the excessive regulatory burden,” Dolyniuk said.

What keeps Dolyniuk up at night?

“Cybersecurity. There are two groups. The first is a small subset of our population that wants to show people they can hack into important things. They don’t really want to cause a lot of harm, they just want to raise a hand: ‘Hey, I’m over here. Look what I can do.’ ”

It’s the second group, Dolyniuk said, that we need to be truly worried about.

“Then you’ve got a whole different group of people — most who are foreign hackers — who are today’s Bonnie and Clyde. They are the new bank robbers. And they search for any chink in the armor. Our banking systems are incredibly good and our clients’ information is safe. We’re keeping them out. Our job is defense. They’re playing offense. Offense is easier to play than defense, because on offense you know what you are going to do next… banks have to defend for all contingencies. It’s a harder game.”

According to Dolyniuk, banks are only as good as their bankers.  

“When I founded CoastalStates Bank, it was imperative to hire the best bankers in our community,” he said. “We didn’t build our bank on the foundation of a national brand or interest rate. We built our bank on bankers who are skilled, engaged and energized to understand the unique needs of each client.”

Faith and family mean everything to Dolyniuk, who said his wife, Laura, and children Megan, Harrison, Reese and MaryAllan are the best gifts in his life.

”God is No. 1, family No. 2, then community and country. We’re on this planet for such a short period of time. You don’t recognize it when you’re young,” he said. “It’s important to make a difference — to impact someone’s life in a positive way. I hope I’ve made a difference through banking. If my actions help people’s dreams become a reality, then I’ve served the community well.”

Making Their Mark: Each month, this column profiles Lowcountry residents who offer fresh insights, renewed hope and a deeper sense of connection to our community. Know someone making a mark? Email kim@hiltonheadmonthly.com.