1st Source Bank Gives Back to the Portage Community

By: Yvonne Godfrey Last Updated: September 29, 2014

1st Source Bank in Portage has been active in the community from its beginnings 150 years ago. Community involvement continues to be a vital cornerstone of their plan.

Two employees of 1st Source’s Portage Central branch shared how this works and why it is a key component of their corporate beliefs. Jesús Cervera, Assistant Vice President, has been with 1st Source for four years and was drawn to their community involvement. Danielle Eigenmann, Client Service Associate, has worked there for about four and a half years and believes her community-mindedness helped her secure her position.

Cervera asserted that this mindset allows 1st Source to have a positive impact in the community and boiled it down to three facets of their key focus: enhance economic development, foster social responsibility, and create a lifelong ethic of service

“The biggest thing that we want to focus on is bettering the community. We really have a vested interest in the betterment of Portage,” Cervera shared about his company’s focus.

Community development at 1st Source started from the get-go. Eigenmann recalls being asked about her community involvement during her first interview.

“It’s nice to know that your company has values. Volunteering is something I enjoy and it’s nice to work for a community that promotes it,” shared Eigenmann.

When looking at a company’s involvement with charitable giving and giving back to the community, it is easy to imagine that the company chooses the causes, but at 1st Source, employees are encouraged to become passionate about things that are close to their hearts. Cervera, for example, is on the Board of Directors of HealthLinc and the Portage Adult Education Center, while Eigenmann is part of the United Way’s Young Leaders United and enjoys diversifying her volunteerism.

“Besides being a strong, stable, local organization – to me – it resonates with grassroots community banking. It has more of a role in community development,” said Cervera.

Employees log onto VolunteerMatch.org to track their hours, which are also tracked by 1st Source. While the company does often compile teams for events such as the United Way’s Day of Caring and makes generous donations to causes like the FAWN Fashion Show, Habitat for Humanity, Queen’s Court, and Portage High School’s JROTC Cadet Leadership Training Program, every employee is encouraged to find their niche interest.

“Finding the one your passionate about is getting blinded by it, too. You’re meeting new people, getting out in your community, and it’s nice that people can see you. It paints a good picture of what we stand for,” Eigenmann shared, also noting that 1st Source is great at building teams for the causes employees become involved in.

The plan to better the community is working. As a whole, 1st Source Bank’s employees logged an excess of 27,000 hours and the company donated more than $1.1 million to nonprofit organizations and local causes. Their annual Ernestine Raclin Community Leadership Awards go to five employees and five community members with outstanding community service records, giving $1,000 to each winner and matching each award with a donation to a local charity of each winner’s choice, totaling $20,000 to reward volunteers and nonprofits.

At the Portage Central location, community involvement takes place on a smaller scale in their newly-renovated banking center, designed with side-by-side banking.

“Portage Central was remodeled to side by side banking, which resonates with ‘Your partners from the first.’ You sit beside your bankers and tellers. This addresses the need for personal attention. Remodeling says, ‘We’re here to stay,’” Cervera explained.

This model is just as it sounds. Instead of being across a large desk with your banker trying to point out a line in a paper while attempting to read it upside down, you sit right next to him or her. Instead of having on-screen information relayed and trying to understand, you can look at the screen, too!

“They want us to know our customers and have that extra step of the relationship with them. It makes customers feel like they’re hanging out with a buddy; it’s really nice,” noted Eigenmann.

1st Source Bank’s continued commitment to bettering the community translates into a better place to bank and – more importantly – a better place to live. To learn more about 1st Source’s impact on the communities it serves, visit https://www.1stsource.com/about-us/community-involvement and keep watching the Life sites.