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Centier, Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance provide help to working poor

Centier Financial Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Lauren Zurbriggen (left to right), Centier Community Relations and Financial Capabilities Officer Dian Reyome, United Way of Porter County Programs and Event Director Rebecca Weber, United Way of Porter County AmeriCorps Program Director Maddie Grimm, and Centier Vice President of Community and Business Development Anthony Contrucci present a check for The Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance.

Centier Bank recently donated $2,500 to the United Way of Porter County to support the Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance, which provides access to financial education, low- to no-cost banking services and other assistance to the working poor, who are just above the federal poverty line but can struggle to pay bills.

The Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance offers assistance to cash-strapped ALICE, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed households that account for about 24% of the population in the area it serves: Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph and Elkhart counties.

“For over a decade, Centier has been intimately involved in this important work,” said Dian Reyome, community relations and financial capabilities officer at Centier Bank. “The success of a community is directly related to the education, health and financial stability of its residents. We want residents to know we’re here to help them succeed.”

Reyome has served as Centier's representative on the Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance Steering Committee, advocating for financial literacy and access to banking services for more than 20 years. She is now retiring and will be succeeded on the Alliance board by Centier Financial Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Lauren Zurbriggen.

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Led by the United Way, the Northern Indiana Bank On Alliance aims to connect households that might have to choose "between quality childcare or paying the rent, filling a needed prescription or fixing the car" with low-cost banking services, tax preparation services, emergency support and free financial literacy workshops.

The initiative also works to raise awareness "about the large, hidden segment of the population struggling to afford basic necessities."

“These households struggle to provide for their most basic needs,” said Kim Olesker, president and CEO of United Way of Porter County. “The financial stability services provided through the Alliance help families rise above the struggles to improve their financial situation. We could not accomplish this work without the help of great supporters like Centier Bank.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.