Beyond Ordinary Banking

With relationship building at the core of its foundation, Horizon Bank offers one-on-one, white-glove service to its clients.
Mar 1, 2024
Heather Herron
Jeffrey Crane

All the services available at a big bank, but with personalized attention — simply put, that’s what customers get at Horizon Bank. Founded more than 150 years ago in Michigan City, Indiana, it now has locations stretching from southern Indiana to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Despite the growth, Horizon has stayed true to its small-town roots and remains a community bank.

“I know the term ‘community bank’ gets thrown around as a catch phrase, but people value being able to go in and talk to the person that’s making the decision,” explains Chris Buchs, the assistant vice president, branch manager in Fort Wayne. “They’re not being put through to a call center. There isn’t a firewall of people that you have to fight through. You’re going to get answers and you’re always going to have direct contact with someone.”

Frank Gomez, the assistant vice president, commercial loan officer in Fort Wayne, says that’s just one advantage of using a community bank. Another benefit is the experience and expertise each team member provides. “Because of our size, we are so in tune and close to one another and it allows us to get answers for ourselves very quickly, but ultimately those answers are impacting our clients,” he says. 

Though Horizon Bank isn’t as big as a nationwide institution, it offers the same resources, tools, products and services like convenient online banking, checking and savings accounts, mortgages and commercial loans, and wealth management and investments. One differentiator is a concierge, white-glove approach to each customer’s experience. “We have the capacity to provide those services, but we’re able to provide them from a community perspective; the focus being serving the communities as best we can,” stresses Buchs. 

That intentional focus is made possible because decisions are made by people who live in the communities they serve. That’s not only evident in the Horizon team’s one-on-one interactions, but is especially seen in their commitment to helping local businesses thrive, which benefits the entire region.

“The underwriting process allows me to be very connected with the client and really understand their financials, their historical performance and what the future looks like,” says Gomez. “That really puts the client in the best position possible. It’s not an automated application system that gives you a yes or no. We have the capacity to lend out multimillion dollar requests as well, but we’re able to make those decisions locally. We’re really looking at clients and their request for credit as an investment in the community.”

While Gomez handles commercial loans and Buchs is responsible for retail operations, both believe that Horizon’s emphasis on forming relationships with customers is key to the bank’s success. Always top of mind is their unwavering commitment to doing the right thing for clients.

“They can pick up the phone and call us knowing who they’re going to speak with. Someone is always going to have their back and will take care of them — it’s as simple as that,” says Buchs. “We’re not transactional. It’s not simply, ‘I need a loan’ and then, ‘Ok. Here it is.’ We’re not order-takers. It’s not just the customer cashing a check or making a deposit. We talk to the customer and uncover a need they may not even know they have. It’s an approach that inevitably always seems to exceed a customer’s expectation. That’s the goal.” 

Horizon Bank

Owner(s): Fort Wayne Market President: Brooks Diller

Address: 110 W. Main St., Suite 100, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

Phone: (260) 399-1920

Website: horizonbank.com

Email: bdiller@horizonbank.com

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