This year, Centier Bank was once again named in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s “Best Places to Work” awards, as well as being named the #1 Best Bank to Work for in Indiana by American Banker (ranking 11th overall in the nation). Centier Bank has received these recognitions annually since 2007 and 2012, respectively, and attributes these accolades to its commitment to building a positive workplace culture that leads to associates having long, successful careers.
“There’s a sense of family, and a strong stewardship that’s engrained in our culture,” said Michelle Maravilla, Vice President and Human Resources Director at Centier Bank. “That starts with our CEO and Chairman, Mike Schrage, and him being the fourth generation of family ownership. It’s a message that resonates out to every branch, team, and group resulting in associates that are very loyal and committed to the family and business.”
Schrage built Centier Bank’s culture around the core values of caring, loyalty, integrity, friendship, and fun. It is a set of priorities that continually inspires new associates when they undertake the Foundations Orientation Program. Each new hire participates in the three-day program hosted at Centier Bank’s Merrillville-based Corporate Centre to learn about the company’s history, culture, and values.
“It’s designed to really immerse new associates in Centier and get them acclimated to who we are as a company before we begin training them in their specific role,” said Gina Gervais, AVP and Employment Manager at Centier. “Foundations is so important. We can’t expect our associates to live the Centier mission if they don’t know what the expectations are. People are always so excited to participate, and it always gets them pumped up to get out there.”
During Foundations, Schrage personally meets each group of new associates to learn about their lives, as well as share his story. It is important to Schrage that every new hire joining Centier understands that they are joining an organization that values its associates.
“Every associate, no matter their role, meets with him and is blown away,” Gervais said. “Mike is very honest and open about his life story—he shares the good and the bad. He does this to show new hires that he is human, too. He prides himself on being accessible and visible. His meetings with Foundations groups are his way to share his vision, to inspire them, and to assure them that they’ve made a good decision by joining the Centier family.”
True to its name, Foundations serves as the base that every Centier Bank associate builds their career upon.
“Foundations is key to nurturing a culture that creates great leaders, and in turn, those leaders perpetuate that culture among everyone who joins the team,” Gervais said. “We want to take care of people. It’s about showing empathy, concern, and support of who our associates are as individuals. We all share a philosophy of putting the needs of others ahead of ourselves, and understanding how one decision impacts all of our associates, all of our clients.”
At Centier, that mentality of putting others first is called Servant Heart Culture.
“It’s not about what’s ‘best for the bank,’ so to speak,” Gervais said. “The servant heart mentality is about finding what’s best for everybody who works at Centier, the clients we serve, and the community that’s supported us for over a century.”
Foundations also showcases the support network that associates are able to rely on, from the facilities to an HR team that has a straightforward goal – ensure that no Centier Bank associate is ever left without a helping hand.
“We value our associates not just for their service, but who they are as individuals,” Maravilla said. “We need to walk alongside them and show how much we care about their needs and their development, even outside of their working hours.”
Foundations is a program that showcases Center Bank’s loyalty to its team members, and it is not surprising that associates show loyalty in return. Many team members have decades-long careers at the bank, earning numerous promotions and advancing their careers to new heights without needing to leave the Region.
LaToya Goodwin, Vice President and Regional Sales Manager at Centier, is one of those associates. She started out as a trainee in the Management Development program back in 2002 and quickly earned a promotion to Assistant Branch Manager after just four months. Since then, she has opened and managed multiple branch locations and earned her title of Vice President in 2018.
“I believe associates are so invested in long-term careers at Centier because of the family work environment, the growth opportunities to have a more diverse banking career, and the associate benefit plans,” Goodwin said. “All of that ensures positive energy is shown in our culture. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given here to truly make a difference at work and in the community.”
Gervais herself also started her career at Centier Bank – first working as a part-time teller 22 years ago while she attended classes at Indiana University Northwest. When a position in HR opened up, she was able to quickly move into the role because Centier hires from within when possible before searching outside the company.
“I’d never really thought of a career in banking, but I just fell in love with the team, the culture, and everything I got to experience,” she said. “I just love being in HR here at Centier and welcoming people into their new family. It’s so rewarding to see what people do with their careers and how they grow and change the lives of others around them. It all starts with the Foundations Program.”
To learn more about Centier Bank and their available career opportunities, visit https://www.centier.com/careers/.