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Latest News / Banker enjoys positive atmosphere, working with communities

Banker enjoys positive atmosphere, working with communities

January 30, 2020

Art RussellFrom Senior Life Newspapers
January 2020 issue
By Carrie Steinweg

Art Russell has spent his entire career in the banking industry, starting in the early 1980s in Greenwood. His work later brought him to northwest Indiana, where he has worked for Bank One, Bank Calumet and Centier Bank. 

The Terre Haute native is currently the vice president/community reinvestment officer at Centier’s Corporate Centre in Merrillville.  

He is a graduate of Indiana State University in Terre Haute.  Russell first worked as a financial service representative. He later was an assistant manager before becoming a branch manager of a bank location in Gary’s Miller neighborhood. At Bank Calumet he was the affordable housing manager and vice president of mortgage lending. 

In 2006, he came to Centier Bank where he oversees the bank’s lending in Lake County census tracts and all the bank’s assessment areas to keep in compliance. He also coordinates the bank’s involvement in community lending programs and outreach programs and serves as a resource to lending staff to encourage and develop more lending and supervises the activities of loan officers regarding solicitation and origination of loans in Lake County census tracts.

Centier Bank has more than 60 branches in about 30 communities in Indiana. 

In his position, he also ensures the training of the staff at all branch offices in the designated census tracts. He reports quarterly to senior management on activities and effectiveness of programs and is responsible for CRA strategies and performance targets.

In his 13 years with Centier Bank, he has come to appreciate the atmosphere and work culture that make coming to work such a joy. “I enjoy coming to work every day, and I come in early every day,” Russell said. “It’s really because of the atmosphere here within the bank. It’s a family atmosphere. They really hold their associates in high esteem and it creates a good atmosphere to work in.”

There can be challenges in assessing the needs within certain communities, he said, when there may be differing opinions between grassroots organizations and local government.

“Trying to disseminate where the true needs lie can be a challenge,” he said. “Sometimes there are situations where they are not on the same page.”

Russell has seen big changes in the banking industry during his career, mostly in the form of technology.

“When I first started in this business, we didn’t even have email. It’s a lot more efficient now, and we have social media that we market through,” he said. “It would have been nice to have this 20 years ago. These types of tools are a real enhancement to banking and will continue to be going forward.”

He and his wife, who works in health care, have two adult children. Russell enjoys golfing and fishing. He’s been a member of Faith Temple of Christ in Merrillville and he serves on the church board. He’s also been involved with the Hammond Education Foundation, Gary Mayor’s Housing Roundtable, Hammond Mayor’s Housing Task Force, Urban League of Northwest Indiana, Bankers Community Council and Hammond Education Foundation.

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