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A Community Promise: Not For Sale

July 22, 2022

Across the country, consumers are feeling the impact of doubled gas prices, freight costs, supply chain issues, and inflation. The excitingly low interest rates that were ogled over in 2021 are looking not-so-low in today’s market. Most news headlines about the economy bring back memories of the “once in a lifetime” Great Recession Americans experienced 2007-2009, with some economists predicting that another is around the corner. 

Though these struggles took place in 2008, the memory of this tough time is still fresh in the minds of many Americans. One lasting effect of the recession left consumers feeling wary of banks, nervous their bank could sell or merge. It is because of this that Mike Schrage, CEO and Chairman of Centier Bank, has made an unfaltering commitment to the communities he serves. Being a local business owner himself, he sincerely stands by his family’s “Not For Sale” promise as a personal commitment to the associates, clients, and communities across Indiana that Centier Bank is here to stay.

“Big banks across the nation buy up smaller, community banks in mergers and acquisitions. It happens all the time, especially in our own backyard. Customers blink and suddenly, their bank is under a new name and new ownership, and it can be an unsettling feeling for everyone,” Schrage explained. “That’s why I made the 'Not For Sale' promise to preserve independent, hometown banking in Northern Indiana for generations to come.”

Centier Bank, which started as Bank of Whiting by Schrage’s great-grandfather in 1895, was in its fourth generation of independent, family ownership when Schrage made the personal commitment and pledge that Centier Bank will continue to remain “Not For Sale”, no matter how big the offer from the big banks happened to be. Schrage said that as a descendant of one of Whiting’s founders, it is far more important to keep Centier Bank in the family to continue providing the advantages of working with a privately-held bank—such as local decision making, personalized service, community outreach, and local lending to fund infrastructure and small businesses. 

The “Not For Sale” promise has been circulating for decades now, and is no longer just Schrage’s lifetime commitment, but one that is shared by the fifth generation of family leadership, which includes his three grown daughters and sons-in-law, who are employed by the bank.  And, while he realizes that some may have their doubts, Schrage affirms that he is a man of his word and that Centier Bank’s associates and clients are like family, and he “will not sell out family.”

Centier Bank experienced exponential growth across The Region in the 1970s and 1980s, with continued expansion across the state. Centier celebrated the grand opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art banking center in St. John last summer, and continued growth across the state in areas like Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. During the pandemic, Centier Bank focused on security and convenience, expanding digital amenities so clients could access their banking with more self-service capabilities online and through its mobile app. Centier Bank also debuted its corporate museum in the flagship branch in Whiting last summer, featuring the history of banking in the United States, Whiting history, and the Centier story. The museum is free and open to the public.

“We are a purpose-driven organization, dedicated to enriching lives through financial guidance for an even better tomorrow,” Schrage explained. “That goes for our clients, associates, and our communities. Whether they’re a Centier client or not, I want every Northwest Indiana resident to feel the impact of Centier’s presence and permanence, knowing that we’re a true community partner to all.” 

For more information about the Centier Museum, go to centier.com/museum

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