First Merchants Bank has pledged $1 million to COVID-19 relief in the communities to serves in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
“The negative economic impact caused by this pandemic cannot be overstated, and First Merchants is committed to doing everything we can to assist our communities during these difficult times,” First Merchants CEO Michael Rechin said. “Our success in recent years is a direct reflection of financial success and opportunity for our clients, teammates and the communities we serve. Our strength stems from their strength, and during this time of great need, our company stands strong and ready to provide additional support.”
The successor to Munster-based Citizens Financial Bank, First Merchants has 18 branches in its lakeshore market, which extends across Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area. Regional bank presidents will request funds for nonprofits in their areas that are tackling the response to the worldwide pandemic that has infected more than 1 million and killed more than 62,000 people in the United States thus far.
The specific charities that will benefit have not been determined yet.
“First Merchants was founded to ensure our clients and communities had a trusted place for their money, and after more than 125 years in business, we remain more committed than ever to enhancing the ﬁnancial well-being of our communities,” Board Chairman Charles Schalliol said. “We give individuals and business owners the ﬁnancial tools they need to grow and thrive, which often goes beyond the transactional. This is one of those times.”
First Merchants, the second-largest bank headquartered in Indiana with assets of $12.7 billion and 130 branches in the Midwest, also is helping people affected by the coronavirus public health crisis and associated lockdowns. The bank is letting clients defer payments on auto loans, mortgages and home equity loans for up to 90 days without late fees or any impact on their credit report. Business clients can restructure their loans, including to defer principal and interest.