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Building Impact in Our Community: A Year in Review

At Merchants Bank, we are more than our banking services and recognition as a top-performing financial institution. We are, first and foremost, a community bank working under a holistic approach to support our neighbors. Operating through six branch locations and online, including a new location in downtown Indianapolis to better reach its community, Merchants Bank not only provides loans and investments to support economic growth and development but also engages in service activities to support our communities through educational training programs, volunteerism and more. We are proud to share all we achieved as a team in 2023.

Housing & Financial Investments

Merchants Bank is regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and is held to high supervisory standards. The FDIC encourages all banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods, as part of its responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Merchants Bank has received an “outstanding” performance rating from the FDIC for helping to meet the credit needs of the communities we serve.

Group of men and women gathered to volunteer together.

To shape our CRA strategies, we met with community partners and leaders and determined there continues to be a significant need for affordable, safe housing in central Indiana. We have developed a number of unique programs and partnerships to support access to affordable rental options and provide low down payment and first-time homebuyer options for single-family homeowners.

One of our partners is Intend Indiana, a nonprofit that advances comprehensive community development through innovative financing and development solutions. Through Intend Indiana, Merchants Bank helped design a program called HomeSmart where homeowners experience an affordable payment and interest rate to share in the homeownership wealth-building model that is out of reach for so many LMI families. Similarly, Merchants developed a new down payment assistance program to provide grant funding for eligible first-time homebuyers through our Lender Equity Assistance Program (LEAP).

FHLBI – Member Grant Programs

As a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI), Merchants Bank has participated extensively in supporting grant applications under the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) and Homeownership Initiatives in which Merchants facilitated the awarding of nearly $2 million to qualified grant recipients. In 2023, $1.4 million in AHP grants were awarded in amounts up to $600,000 to make a strong impact on homeownership, including gap funding on affordable housing initiatives. Additionally, $60,000 was granted under the Homeownership Opportunities (HOP) for six first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance, and $295,000 under the Neighborhood Impact Program (NIP) to assist 34 income-eligible homeowners with home repairs, and nearly $60,000 under the Accessibility Modifications Program (AMP) to aid six seniors and households with disabled family members with home modifications.

FHLBI grants go beyond homeownership to the Elevate grant program that supports small businesses, helping them expand and grow with up to $20,000 grants which can be used for capital expenditures, working capital, workforce development and other qualifying expenses.

As a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI), Merchants Bank has participated extensively in supporting grant applications under the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) and Homeownership Initiatives in which Merchants facilitated the awarding of nearly $2 million to qualified grant recipients. In 2023, $1.4 million in AHP grants were awarded in amounts up to $600,000 to make a strong impact on homeownership, including gap funding on affordable housing initiatives. Additionally, $60,000 was granted under the Homeownership Opportunities (HOP) for six first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance, and $295,000 under the Neighborhood Impact Program (NIP) to assist 34 income-eligible homeowners with home repairs, and nearly $60,000 under the Accessibility Modifications Program (AMP) to aid six seniors and households with disabled family members with home modifications.

FHLBI grants go beyond homeownership to the Elevate grant program that supports small businesses, helping them expand and grow with up to $20,000 grants which can be used for capital expenditures, working capital, workforce development and other qualifying expenses.

Charitable & Volunteer Efforts

Our commitment to communities extends beyond homeownership-based efforts. Through financial contributions, we made significant investments to more than 80 local nonprofit organizations that are focused on serving the needs of the community, including nearly a dozen with concerted efforts to further their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Merchants Bank provided in excess of $1 million in funding to a variety of organizations that, in turn, support the community. 

Intern group posing for a picture after finishing a volunteer event.

Highlights include Partners in Housing, RDOOR, CHIP Indy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Coburn Place, Greater Indianapolis Habitat for Humanity, Holiday Park Foundation, Mental Health America of West Central Indiana, Salvation Army, Pathway to Recovery, and multiple area school.

MPACT PROGRAM

Merchants Bank employees are engaged in every aspect of community service, and our commitment to local nonprofits extends far beyond our financial contributions and expertise. The MPACT program supports Merchants employees Positively Advancing Communities Together to make an “MPACT” in the communities in which we live and work. The program grants 16 hours of PTO to Merchants employees for volunteer service on an annual basis. In 2023, more than 230 employees logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours in our communities with over 1,200 of those hours dedicated to community development organizations and the individuals they serve.

Merchants Bank employees also serve on community organization boards and provide financial literacy and education for area students and residents, including a series of financial empowerment sessions to Isaiah House residents. Employees also built Habitat for Humanity homes and supported the Million Meal Movement by packing and providing shelf-stable nutritious meals. Other MPACT volunteer activities impacting residents in 2023 included:

• JA BizTown (Junior Achievement)
• Indiana Housing & Community Development Association
• Teachers Treasures
• Coburn Place
• Brookside Community Development Corporation
• Coxhall Gardens
• Dove Recovery House for Women
• Meals on Wheels
• The Salvation Army

Merchants’ employees also serve on many community boards and committees that include:
• Community Investment Fund of Indiana (CIFI)
• Local Initiatives Support Corporation Indianapolis (LISC)
• SCORE Indianapolis
• Indiana Affordable Housing Council (IAHC)
• Intend Indiana
• Fuller Center for Housing of Central Indiana
• Coburn Place
• Women’s Affordable Housing Network (WAHN)
• Various Chambers of Commerce, and more

In total, Merchants Bank employees have logged more than 12,000 hours of volunteer service since 2018 as part of the MPACT program. Each year, we recognize our most dedicated volunteers in the MPACT Awards ceremony and recognize one employee with the coveted “Volunteer of the Year” award.

Merchants Foundation

Most recently, Merchants Bank and Merchants Capital announced the creation of Merchants Foundation, a private charitable foundation supported by the Merchants family of companies with its roster of 600 employees located across the country. The Foundation, which commits to being a catalyst within the communities it serves, brings forth hope and well-being by expanding access to housing, healthcare, and education – three factors that greatly contribute to the overall health of an individual and their community. (Read more about Merchants Foundation.)

A group of volunteers working together.
Group of interns in orange reflector vests posing together for a picture as they volunteer at Gleaners food bank.
Group of volunteers in elf hats working together to package meals at a volunteer event.
Summary

Serving low- and moderate-income individuals and neighborhoods, small businesses, and farms in our markets is a core pillar of our business. The success of these grant and volunteer programs through our partnerships with nonprofit organizations in 2023 is a testament to our team, their expertise, values and passion for their work. We are proud of the collaborations outlined above, and we are prouder still of the impact we can continue to make in central Indiana.

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