The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 12, 2020 1:00 am

Bank invested in Warsaw

Lake City spends millions on upgrades across county

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Even bankers can be surprised by how quickly spending adds up.

David Findlay, Lake City Bank's president and CEO, recently wondered how much the company had invested over the past 10 years in capital improvements within Kosciusko County.

The projects totaled $21.7 million, a number that impressed Findlay enough to go against his bank's usually low-profile approach.

“It runs counter to our culture to brag about things,” he said last week during a phone interview. “We put our heads down and do the right thing and move our business forward.”

Moving the business forward, in this case, included making significant improvements to all seven buildings the bank occupies in downtown Warsaw, where it is headquartered. Those projects alone accounted for $15.8 million of the total investment.

The bank's downtown Warsaw campus includes the headquarters on Center Street; the human resources operation and personal and home loans building, both on Buffalo Street; and the bank's operations center and the Lakeland Financial Building, both on Market Street. Lake City also has a major presence in the CenturyLink building on Center Street, where a separate area offers drive-up banking services.

Two of the buildings are former department stores, and others also housed retail that's long gone. Findlay speculated that if Lake City hadn't moved in, the spaces might still be empty. Its presence, he said, contributes to a healthy downtown.

“In a lot of communities, when a bank gets to $5 billion (in assets), they would leave downtown and build a new headquarters on the edge of town,” he said.

Alan Tio, Kosciusko Economic Development Corp.'s CEO, said Lake City officials consistently step forward to support projects in the city and county, helping make the area a destination.

“Lake City Bank is an important leader in the local community,” he added.

Findlay said Lake City's investments reaffirm the bank's commitment to its future and the community's future.

“Every square foot of our Kosciusko County footprint will have been updated and upgraded,” he said in a statement. “These upgrades have included investment in innovative and forward thinking technology platforms that will ensure that Lake City Bank remains at the forefront of technology.”

Last year, Lake City began offering person-to-person payments to its mobile banking customers through the Zelle Network.

Users can send money from one bank account to another using only a recipient's email address or U.S. mobile number. Funds are available within minutes when both parties are already enrolled with Zelle, according to the company.

Commercial clients can also manage accounts over their smartphones or mobile devices, Findlay said.

“You can't not compete on technology today,” he said.

Most banks offering such services, he said, are much larger than Lake City, the sixth-largest bank headquartered in Indiana.

“At the same time, we are investing in our brick-and-mortar presence because that's where we serve our clients face-to-face every day, and both delivery channels are important for our success,” Findlay added.

Almost 350 of Lake City's 660 employees work in downtown Warsaw. The bank operates 11 offices in Kosciusko, including four full-services ones inside Warsaw's city limits.

Lake City's branch network comprises 50 offices throughout its 15-county footprint in northern and central Indiana. Even so, Findlay said the bank remains committed to its hometown.

“Warsaw has been our home since we were founded in 1872,” he said, “and we have grown and invested in Warsaw and Kosciusko County continuously over the past 147 years.”

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily