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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v13n07)
5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
by Mario Morone
posted: Apr. 01, 2016

First Merchants Bank opened their inaugural office in Broad Ripple at 5915 N. College Avenue on January 19th, 2016. Reliant Partners commercial realtors Thomas Willey and Scott Lindenberg helped make this a reality. Banking Center Manager Matthew Musgrave shared his perspective behind their decision to branch out there.

First Merchants Bank manager Matthew Musgrave.
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image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


"Initially, the bank was conceptualized by Ameriana Bank, which was purchased last year by First Merchants Bank (based in Muncie) that inherited the space. The location was chosen because we have a vision for what we wanted to do in Broad Ripple that centered around the idea that we're a community bank and wanted to maintain a community feel. What better place is there?" he inquired.
First Merchants Bank has offices in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, but local citizens provided input for its interior design at 5915 North College Avenue. "We had a short list of businesses in the Broad Ripple area that we wanted to partner with in order to make this space as comfortable and as homey as possible. When we were researching the Broad Ripple market, we interviewed business owners, residents, friends and neighbors. We really used that data and information which we included in the building. Our takeaways from those interviews from people in and around Broad Ripple value things like buying local and having relationships and connections with the community and organization that give back to the community," Musgrave noted.
While teller booths are traditional in bank branches, First Merchants Bank has amenities not typically found in a financial institution. Tablet computers await customers to enroll in on-line banking and to open accounts. There are additional tablets for kids and adults to enjoy when they visit. A child can play games while their parent conducts bank transactions. A Micro Café features coffee from Hubbard & Cravens and Wi-Fi where friends can meet, but book clubs and other groups are welcome. A change machine that doesn't assess fees for bringing in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters is located in the bank lobby. An interactive community board is where customers can write comments and display pictures about what they like best in Broad Ripple. An added customer convenience is a secure ATM in a vestibule area out of the elements where transactions can occur. These are just a few of the unique assets First Merchants Bank provides their customers.

Community Micro Cafe
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A free community conference room is a more private setting where business and civic groups can meet during office and evening hours. Presentations can be given on a large video screen. Job interviews can be conducted as well. Details about their availability can be answered by calling 287-0470 during bank hours Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon. The website, www.firstmerchants.com, has more information.

community meeting space
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image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


"Even though we've added these other amenities in the bank, we still offer all the retail banking services you expect from a community bank, like personal and business banking, personal and business lines of credit, mortgages, investments and trust services," he mentioned.
Future branch designs like this may vary. "It's possible, but more than likely, we would do research on the local community and what they value and tailoring that bank (location) to that community and neighborhood. A lot of Broad Ripple folks value the environment. We tried to be environmental in the design and construction of the building. There's also a strong love of the arts here. All of the art in the building is from Indianapolis and the Central Indiana area. The digital photo display 'Village Wisdom' combines still life photos of Broad Ripple with layered in text as well. It's a gift back to the Broad Ripple community on an 80″ inch screen," he said.
"I've been in consumer banking and mortgage banking for a little more than a decade with National City, PNC and First Financial Bank. I studied Photojournalism and English at Syracuse University and was a photographer in Indianapolis and Art Director for Dine magazine, which I started," Musgrave added. His focus is now on growing First Merchants Bank in Broad Ripple and beyond.
Reliant Partners commercial realtors Thomas Willey and Scott Lindenberg specialize in real estate brokerage, property management and development consulting. They discovered a historic area with high visibility when opening their office in February, 2016 on the building's second floor at 5915 N. College Avenue.

Reliant Partners Commercial Realtors Tom Willey and Scott Lindenberg
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image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


"First Merchants Bank was in the market for a Marion County branch and Scott had a banking relationship with them. We're a boutique commercial real estate firm and we were looking for an investment opportunity and decided to construct our own building. When we decided on the design and style, we pitched the idea to First Merchants. They wanted to make a splash with their first branch in Indianapolis," explained Willey.
"We really love the Broad Ripple and SoBro areas and there weren't any viable, Class A office space options. We have second floor space available for lease adjacent to our office and plans to host events for a variety of occasions in the building with catering available from Binkley's and Ambrosia," Lindenberg mentioned. Inquiries can be answered by calling 682-1103 and e-mailing: scott@reliantpcr.com. Their website, www.thereliantpartners.com, contains more information.
"Architecturally, we get a tremendous amount of compliments on the building. It has enhanced the neighborhood and we hope our project inspires another project in the area. There are a variety of sustainable elements within the building. We have low emissivity glass (Low-E) and structural insulated panels (SIPs are a high performance building system for residential and light commercial construction) and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Mechanical Systems, which are highly efficient HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) systems," Willey said.
Their backgrounds compliment their work. An Elkhart native, Willey was a fine arts major at Indiana State University. He owned an advertising marketing company for 22 years, but transitioned into real estate about 16 years ago. Lindenberg is from Fort Wayne. He studied marketing at Butler University and has a corporate sales background and has been in the real estate industry about 16 years.
By opening Reliant Partners office in a historic community, Thomas Willey, Scott Lindenberg and (First Merchants Bank manager) Matthew Musgrave are building a stronger foundation in Broad Ripple.

5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


5915 College - First Merchants Bank & Reliant Partners - by Mario Morone
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan




mario@broadripplegazette.com
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