A piece of advice you’ve probably heard more than once is, “Do business with those you know.” When doing business with First Federal Savings Bank in Plymouth, this is almost guaranteed.
“We have been offering full-service banking in Plymouth since 1979,” says Manager Larry Faulstich.
He has been at the helm of this hometown bank since it opened.
“Being a locally-owned community bank, there is a good chance you are going to interact with people you know, whether it is throughout the loan process or coming into the bank for an everyday transaction,” Faulstich says. “You aren’t just another number to us – you’re a part of our community. All decisions are made in our local communities, and not in some other major city or in another state.”
The Plymouth team also includes Gina Howell, assistant branch manager who has been with the bank for 28 years, and Lisa Zentz, head teller and a 31-year employee. Howell, Natalie Brookins and Faulstich handle the mortgage side of the Plymouth branch.
The Plymouth office is one of six branches throughout northern Indiana. Other locations include Rochester, Winamac, Bremen, Elkhart and Mishawaka. Each branch is autonomous and offers customers local decision making.
Faulstich calls it a “progressive” bank, meaning it can compete with the technology today’s banking customers want.
Customers have access to digital banking services including online and mobile banking, mobile deposits, Apple Pay and Google Pay, debit card control, surcharge-free ATM access, online bill payment, loan and deposit services for small-business customers, and other digital products and services.
“Part of our mission statement says it all: ‘First Federal’s mission is to serve our customers with the newest, competitively priced products delivered to them with state-of-the-art technology,’” Faulstich explains. “We have a great management team that keeps up with the latest trends and works closely with our providers, to make sure we are offering the newest products to give our customers the best banking experience possible.”
First Federal Savings Bank’s niche is in the services it provides to residential and small-business customers in the region, Faulstich says.
“We are primarily known for our mortgage lending and we take pride in being one of the top mortgage lenders, but we also take pride in being a full-service bank,” he says.
These services don’t just meet their customers’ immediate needs. Customers can grow with their hometown bank.
“It is never too early to begin teaching a child the benefits of savings,” Faulstich says.
“Toddlers can find excitement in putting coins in piggy banks and bringing the coins to the bank and having them turned into bills. As a child starts elementary school, they can begin to understand that we have to save for the things we want. When they earn money, teach them to put some in their savings account and work towards a goal. By starting early, saving money will become a lifelong habit.”
For young couples and families, Faulstich recommends a goal-focused approach to financial management.
“Start by thinking about what your long-term goals are – buying a house, starting a business, paying for college, paying off debt, etcetera – and when you would like to achieve them,” he says. “After you know where you want to be, make a budget and understand how money is flowing in and out of your accounts, and do your best to be disciplined in following the budget you set up for yourself. Pay yourself first and take advantage of opportunities you have, like 401(k) matching and automatic savings deposits from your paycheck. Increase savings amounts at the same time you get raises.”
Faulstich says access to people who can help navigate a customer’s financial situation, as well as access to programs and organizations, make doing business with a hometown bank a win-win.
“We will work with our customers no matter what stage of life, to help them achieve their financial goals and objectives,” Faulstich says.
In 2019, the bank invested $1.4 million in a remodel – the second remodeling the bank has undergone in its 42-year history in Plymouth.