Vol. 108 2024 Issue 2 (Mar/Apr)

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions

Michelle Kawiecki of First Merchants Bank, Muncie, was recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2023 CFO of the Year program. She was one of three honorees in the category for companies valued at more than $100 million. Kawiecki joined the bank in 2015 as senior vice president of Treasury and accounting before transitioning to CFO in 2021. In that role, she manages 125 locations, leading accounting, financial planning and analysis, corporate Treasury, business intelligence, physical security, fraud, facilities, investor relations and communications. Among her many accomplishments, Kawiecki created a data governance process and matured the bank’s data analytics program. When the bank decided to move its headquarters from Carmel to Indianapolis, she identified strategic partners for a new location and building upgrade that is expected to provide cost savings for the company.

Mariana Reyes of Centier Bank, Merrillville, was named Volunteer of the Year by Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana/Elkhart County. She serves as assistant branch manager of the bank’s Elkhart North branch. When volunteering with JA, she teaches financial education courses at elementary schools as well as the newly constructed Biztown, which opened last year. Reyes said the most rewarding part of her volunteer experience has been receiving thank you cards and forming caring relationships with students.

Citizens State Bank, New Castle, was named the Small Business Lender of the Year for 2023 by the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation, a division of IBA associate member Cambridge Capital Management Corporation. The award is given to the bank that generates the largest percentage of its deposits as U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans with ISCDC. Community First Bank of Indiana, Kokomo, came in second. First Merchants Bank, Muncie, was recognized for having the most SBA 504 dollars and the highest number of projects.

Thirteen IBA member banks made Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Regional Banks for 2024. Four members received the top five-star ranking: German American Bank, Jasper; Horizon Bank, Michigan City; Old National Bank, Evansville; and STAR Bank, Fort Wayne. Other banks to receive recognition include Citizens State Bank, New Castle; Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati; First Bank of Berne; First Farmers Bank & Trust Co., Converse; Flagstar Bank, Troy, MI; Huntington National Bank, Columbus, OH; Northwest Bank, Warren, PA; and WesBanco Bank, Wheeling, WV.

The Indiana District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized its top lenders from 2023. Huntington National Bank, Columbus, OH; KeyBank, NA, Cleveland, OH; and Old National Bank, Evansville, were recognized as the gold, silver and bronze Regional Lenders, respectively. Gold, silver and bronze for the Community Lender category went to 1st Source Bank, South Bend; Centier Bank, Merrillville; and Merchants Bank of Indiana, Carmel. The Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation, a division of IBA associate member Cambridge Capital Management Corporation, was named the SBA’s top 504 CDC Lender both by loans approved and dollar volume. Centier Bank was also the top third-party lender. In total, the SBA approved 1,289 loans in Indiana across its traditional 7(a) and 504 loan programs, providing more than $585 million directly to entrepreneurs and supporting more than $728 million used to start, grow and expand their Indiana-based businesses.

The government relations teams of the American Bankers Association and Independent Community Bankers of America were both recognized as top lobbyists on Capitol Hill by the political website and newspaper The Hill. ICBA’s Paul Merski and Rebeca Romero Rainey and ABA’s Naomi Camper, Rob Nichols and Kirsten Sutton were all recognized in The Hill’s annual list, released in December.

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