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First Merchants offering COVID-19 relief in Northwest Indiana
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First Merchants offering COVID-19 relief in Northwest Indiana

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First Merchants roll out COVID-19 grants in Northwest Indiana

First Merchants Bank branch in Munster.

First Merchants Bank is offering COVID-19 relief in Northwest Indiana to help with "immediate, reparative and transformative needs" in the communities it serves.

The Muncie-based bank has pledged $1 million to helping communities in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan recover from the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The negative economic impact caused by this pandemic cannot be overstated, and First Merchants is committed to doing everything we can to assist our Lakeshore Region and our other 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 Indiana’s and Illinois’ strength, and during this time of great need, we stand strong and ready to provide additional support.”

First Merchants is donating to 35 different nonprofits in Northwest Indiana and south suburban Chicago, including Little City, South Suburban Public Action to Deliver Shelter, Tradewinds, St. Jude House, Opportunity Enterprises and Center for the Homeless

“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’re proud to give Indiana and Illinois residents and business owners the financial tools they need to grow and thrive, which often exceeds the transactional. This is one of those times.”

The bank also has been trying to help its customers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including by allowing them to defer payments on auto loans, mortgage loans and home equity loans.

First Merchants has assets $12.7 billion in assets and 130 branches, including in Munster, Dyer, St. John, Highland, Hammond, East Chicago, Merrillville, Rensselaer, DeMotte, and Valparaiso.

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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.

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