Bank plans downtown presence with regional HQ, branch on West Wayne

Bank plans downtown presence with regional HQ, branch on West Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Another sign the boom in Allen County has not slowed down is the announcement that another bank is moving to downtown Fort Wayne.

F&M Bank, formerly Farmers & Merchants State Bank, with headquarters in Archbold, Ohio, will open its regional headquarters and a branch at 128 W. Wayne St. this summer, across the street from J K O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House and Creative Women of the World.

A billboard recently appeared on the parking lot next to the chosen location announcing the move.

“We know we need to be in downtown Fort Wayne,” said Andrew “Andy” Baker, regional president, at the bank’s Lima Road branch. “There’s tons of growth. There’s tons of opportunity. It’s an exciting time to be in Fort Wayne, and we know to truly be a part of the community, we need to have a downtown presence, so we’re excited to build a branch and a regional headquarters.”

Andy Baker, regional president, F&M Bank and the bank’s Lima Road branch.

Demolition has started at the 6,000 square foot, one-story building built in 1937.

F&M Bank signals a name change to make sure the bank isn’t confused with another bank here, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Baker said.

In the past year, the bank celebrated its 125th anniversary, going back to a time when there were more than 100 banks nationwide named Farmers & Merchants Bank to serve America’s Main Street and those who plowed the fields, Baker said.

F&M has had a presence here for 15 years and reached $3 billion in assets, a jump from $1.2 billion about five years ago, indicating a “growth spurt,” Baker said. The bank has branches in Huntertown on Lima Road, on the city’s southwest side on Illinois Road, and soon, downtown. Other Hoosier locations include Ossian, Berne, Geneva, Bluffton, Decatur, Auburn, Butler, Monroe, Portland and Angola.

Across northeast Indiana and Ohio, there are 41 bank locations. He believes bank expansion will likely occur and eventually include southern Michigan.

“Our biggest focus is on commercial customers, real estate developers, but we’re really focused on all businesses,” Baker said, who left PNC Bank and moved back to his hometown with his wife, Lisa, from St. Louis, Missouri. “ Baker graduated from Snider High School, and Lisa graduated from Bishop Dwenger. The couple have two grown children.

At PNC, Baker was responsible for banking in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, he said. The bank employs about 400 people.

“I’ve always said banking is a noble profession. We’re blessed to have people seeking out us as an employer of choice,” Baker said.

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