Nicklas Joins Centier

March 24, 2014

Lora nicklasMichael E. Schrage, President and CEO of Centier Bank, announced that Lori Nicklas has joined Centier Bank.  Nicklas joins as a Mortgage Loan Originator, serving the Porter County service area.  Her office is located at 150 S. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana.

As a career banker, Nicklas has more than 25 years of banking experience, most of her career dedicated to helping families through the process of homeownership.  A member of the Porter County Builders Association and Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, she is an active member in her community.   She is a member of the Region Referral Group, Valparaiso and Chesterton Chambers of Commerce, and has volunteered at Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso.

Nicklas resides in Valparaiso.


Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly magazine has tabulated the ballots for its “Best in Business” survey and for the 12th year in a row, Centier has been voted “Best Bank for Business.” Readers also voted Centier as “Best Bank for Customer Service” and one of the “Best Companies to Work For.”

“It’s an honor receive this accolade from our business associates,” stated Mike Schrage, bank president and CEO.  “This means that the attention and care that we put into every business interaction results not only in great, personalized service, but in good banking relationships that last over time.”

Centier has been regularly featured among the “Best of” Northwest Indiana business and has managed a strong reputation as a leading bank in commercial banking.  The Bank’s award-winning commercial lending division reaches service areas at more than 45 locations across Lake, Porter, La Porte, Marshall, Allen, Tippecanoe, and Hamilton Counties in Indiana.  Established in 1895, Centier remains a family-owned and managed bank, with a focus on personalized community banking.

Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly magazine will publish the results of its survey in the spring issue of the publication.


Centier Bank’s Hammond Community Advisory Panel, along with Purdue University Calumet’s Hospitality and Tourism Center, hosted an informative presentation regarding Healthy Meals on February 21st.  Purdue students majoring in hospitality and management set up twelve cooking stations to demonstrate how to prepare wholesome meals, such as soups, breads and vegetables, to students and parents of Harding and Morton Elementary Schools.

The group lessons were the continuing efforts of the advisory panel’s series on health and wellness.   Last year, the Hammond Community Advisory Panel hosted health and wellness fairs at Harding and Morton, and joined in partnership with Grow NWI to sponsor a community garden at Morton High School.

“The community garden is a great idea,” stated Rita Fields, Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University.  “The goal of the community garden is to improve the diets of the community that is participating. We are really happy to host this event.”

Hammond Community Advisory Panel Member, Rocharda Moore-Morris said, “The health of this generation’s children is so important because of the changes in the technology and family structure.  Our partnership with Purdue has made this possible.”

The panel will host a second presentation on Healthy Meals this Friday, February 28, 2014.  For more information, please contact Art Russell, Centier Bank Director of Lake County Community Development at 755-4660, ext. 3804.


More than 100 years ago, the city was built by a network of small business entrepreneurs, and the 21st century offers opportunities in self-employment for those who will be tomorrow’s professionals.

Thirty-eight students in 8th through 12th grades from Hammond High, Morton High, Gavit Junior/Senior High School and the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology learned how to chart their successful careers at the “Young Professional of the 21st Century – Part 1” program at the Hammond INnovation Center.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. greeted the students and told them about the opportunities available in such fields as health care, where Franciscan St. Margaret has had a presence for 100 years.

After polling students about what kinds of careers they were interested in, INnovation Center business consultant Sue Anderson discussed various hot careers for the future. Those include solar energy, technology of all kinds and health care careers such as physical therapist and sports medicine.

Students received hands-on experience with Onet, software that provides career plan development.

Social media plays a large part in students’ lives, said Lourdes Castellanos, owner of Creative Solutionz Inc. Castellanos explained the responsibilities involved in using social media.

“Technology, while convenient, is also a responsibility that can directly affect (students’) futures. Social networking is viewed by many as simply fun and an outlet to do and say what they want; however, businesses are viewing it much more seriously and utilizing that information to assess potential employees,” Castellanos said.

A walking tour of downtown Hammond introduced the students to the many historic buildings and how they have been repurposed.

“We developed the walking tour and a booklet to take with them,” said Sue Anderson, a business consultant at the Hammond INnovation Center, a technology business incubator that operates under the leadership of the Hammond Development Corp.

Art Russell, vice president at Centier Bank, explain the bank’s history and the benefits of entrepreneurship. It is as important now as it was 118 years ago when Henry Schrage opened his bank in Whiting, Russell said.


Money Smart Kid Contest

February 13, 2014

In conjunction with the Federal Reserve’s 8th annual Money Smart Week, April 5 – 12, 2014, Lakeshore Public Media, Junior Achievement and the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana are sponsoring the Money Smart Kid Contest, with support from the entire Northwest Indiana Money Smart Council.  Northwest Indiana students in grades 6 – 8 have the opportunity to enter the Indiana state contest with an essay of 300 words or less and to also enter the Northwest Indiana video contest.  This year’s question is:  Every investment has a certain amount of risk and an expected return.  Imagine you are speaking to an investor; describe how investing in you (such as paying for college or technical school costs) will produce a return.  Please be sure to discuss what types of risk the investor would face.

 This year’s contest in Northwest Indiana is an inaugural video contest!  Students are encouraged to answer the question with a minimum 60 second and maximum 90 second video.  Three finalists will be selected to attend the Money Smart Press Conference on April 3, 2014 and one student will be named this year’s Money Smart Kid, winning an iPad2.  The first runner up will receive an iPad Mini, followed by the 2nd runner up receiving an iPod Touch.

The video should be submitted by March 3rd to  Students will need to sign in with email and the password moneysmart.  The video will need to be uploaded to Lakeshore Public Media and entries must include their name in the title before it is uploaded!  Applications are available on the Northwest Indiana Money Smart Week website, or by contacting the Northwest Indiana Money Fair Council chair, Dian Reyome, at  The completed application should be submitted by:  fax 219-756-4312; email or mail Lakeshore Public Media, 8625 Indiana Place, Merrillville, IN 46410.

In order to also be considered for the Indiana state scholarship prizes, all Money Smart Kid Video entries from Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties, must submit a written essay based on their video.  The essay should be submitted as directed on the Indiana Money Smart Kid site –


Bossi Joins Centier

February 6, 2014

Lisa BossiMichael E. Schrage, President and CEO of Centier Bank, announced that Lisa Bossi has joined Centier Bank.  Bossi is Vice President of Cash Management, serving Northwest Indiana. Her office is located at 9701 Indianapolis Boulevard, Highland, IN 46322.

Bossi joins Centier with more than 25 years of banking experience throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.  During her professional career, she has serviced various sized businesses, from start-ups to large corporations.  As a member of Centier’s Cash Management team, Bossi works with lenders to provide commercial clients banking and business options in order to save them time and money.

Bossi is an active resident in the St. John community.   In addition to serving on the St. John Chamber of Commerce, Schererville Chamber of Commerce, and Crossroads Chamber of Commerce, she serves on the Salvation Army Board of Directors.


Jennifer CallisonMichael E. Schrage, Centier Bank President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, announced the addition of Jennifer Callison to its board of directors.  Callison is Vice President, Realtor, and Broker for Mike Thomas Associates/F. C. Tucker Real Estate Firm in FortWayne, Indiana.

Callison has been involved in the Real Estate business for over 16 years.  She manages four offices and more than 100 agents throughout Northern Indiana, with annual sales in excess of $200 million.  Since becoming Managing Broker in 2003, the company has added two offices and increased over $50 million in volume.

“As a trusted member of the Fort Wayne business community, Jennifer Callison possesses the knowledge, leadership, and talent that is important for our growing bank,” stated Schrage.  “She joins a board of trusted business leaders and community servants from growing regions that we serve.”  Schrage added that Callison, along with her brother, Jeff, is second generation of a Fort Wayne family business, founded by her father, Mike Thomas.  “Jennifer understands the importance of preserving a family legacy in business and that is what Centier Bank has done for nearly 119 years.  It is because of our board of directors, associates, and clients that Centier remains the ‘bank of choice’ preserving independent community banking in Indiana.”

In addition to her role Mike Thomas Associates/F.C. Tucker Real Estate, Callison is active in her community and has been involved with Mad Anthony’s Children’s Hope House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The Mouse Project.  She is a professional affiliate of the National Board of Realtors, Indiana Association of Realtors, Indiana Regional MLS Board, Task Force for the Legacy Fund for Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, and the Leadership Forum of Northern Indiana.


Starting with their 2014 annual campaign, the United Ways in Lake and Porter Counties will offer select companies and employees a new paperless way to give back to their community with a simple click of a computer.

The new giving platform is an online electronic pledge collection tool called ‘e-Pledge’ for short.  It makes giving quick, easy, secure and cost-effective.  E-Pledge reduces, or in some cases eliminates, the paper forms traditionally used in United Way-led workplace campaigns, resulting in improved efficiency for all.

“We think e-Pledge is a ‘win-win-win’ for the company, their employees, and United Way,” said Jeremy Miller, Chief Operating Officer with Lake Area United Way.

“E-Pledge works with United Way’s secure database Andar 360 to safely store donor data, send emails directly to a company’s employees, set up a customized branded website that includes special messages from the CEO, promote special events and employee incentives. It also automatically tracks pledges and runs real-time reports,” explains Miller.

“A company’s entire United Way campaign can be set and ready to roll from one computer station,” he adds.  “You can even launch multiple locations simultaneously with a push of a button.”

Two companies in Northwest Indiana agreed to pilot the e-Pledge campaign in 2013.  Centier Bank agreed to test run an e-Pledge campaign for their employees in 14 counties across Northern Indiana as far east as Allen and south to Tippecanoe Counties.  This year, employee contributions to the Lake Area United Way and the United Way of Porter County increased 17 percent.

“The United Way’s’ new e-Pledge system really paves the way for efficiency in community fund-raising.  Centier associates are accustomed to electronic communications and we received a great response from this new product enhancement,” stated Art Russell, Ambassador for Centier Bank’s 2014 United Way campaign & Vice President Lake County Community Development/CRA.

Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) piloted an e-Pledge campaign in Porter County.  Not only did they agree to test and provide feedback on the new system, their campaign increased 14%.  Additionally, Larry Moore, CSI Vice President, agreed to donate half of the cost of the software which can be used for any company campaign in the future.

“We are very grateful to both Centier Bank and CSI for their willingness to be the first in the region to test the new software.  We appreciate the generosity of their employees,” said Sharon A. Kish, President of United Way of Porter County.

The United Ways are seeking more companies to take advantage of the e-Pledge system, says Miller.  “Interested businesses can contact us if they’re interested in exploring and signing their company up for e-Pledging in 2014,” he said.  For more information, contact Lake Area United Way at and United Way of Porter County at


There is a lot of information out today regarding the data compromise affecting Target Store shoppers. Please know that Centier is aware and is actively and very closely monitoring this situation for all Centier clients. As part of our security procedures, we constantly monitor all Centier card activity for fraud. We are taking extra steps to analyze information related to this situation to ensure your card/account is secure.

We have identified clients who have used their card at Target during the timeframe of the security breach. As a proactive security measure, we are reissuing cards to these individuals.

We will continue to provide updates as they become available. If you have specific questions related to your Centier card or account, please call our Client Service Centier at 1-888-CENTIER (888-236-8437).


The Regional Development Company (RDC) recently celebrated 20 years of serving small businesses throughout Northwest Indiana and recognized Centier Bank as “Most Active Bank Partner” during the past two decades.  Centier Bank was also honored as “Bank of the Year” in 2013 for its efforts in community business lending.

The Regional Development Company is a certified development company that specializes in the 504 SBA Loan program, primarily in Northwest Indiana.  Locally, the Regional Development Company administers the SBA 504 loan program and works with banks to identify potential SBA 504 borrowers.

Over the past twenty years we have built a strong partnership with the RDC, working together to get small businesses the financing that they need to bring support, goods, and services to the community,” stated Mike Schrage, Centier Bank President and CEO.  “Our teams have demonstrated strong leadership and a passion for what they do, and that’s what makes Centier Bank and RDC projects so successful.”

As the area’s leading bank in commercial real estate lending, Centier offers the 504 SBA Loan program as an instrument to help local communities grow and develop economically.  The program provides small companies with long-term fixed-rate financing for expansion, modernization, and for land and large equipment purchases.  In addition, job creation is a defining part of the SBA 504 loan program.  In the past 20 years, 5,331 jobs have been created or retained through projects supported by the RDC.