“At STAR, we know that in order to deliver the corporate culture our team wants and deserves, we have to hold true to our core values,” says Kristin Marcuccilli, EVP, chief operating officer of STAR Bank in Fort Wayne. “Our culture embraces honesty and integrity, lifelong learning and we enjoy celebrating our successes.”
Marcuccilli says it’s that strong foundation that has proven to be successful for the local, family-owned and operated bank for more than seven decades and she’s confident it will continue to do so well into the coming years.
“Our culture at STAR is always open to change, so, for example, we’ve adopted an open floor plan. Individual cubicles have been replaced by a pod of five or six team members sitting together in open communication and collaboration. They can bounce ideas off each other and troubleshoot issues for our customers. They can work together as a team.”
The company name “STAR” was derived from the first letter of the first name of the four original founders: Selah Wright, Thomas Marcuccilli, Arthur Hodson and Ralph Marcuccilli. They opened the first STAR bank in 1943 in Upland, Indiana.
Today, there are 40 STAR branches in 17 Indiana counties, with the company’s corporate office and service center headquartered in Fort Wayne.
“Being locally owned and perhaps more importantly, privately held, allows us to talk to our customers and come up with a 2 to 3-year vision for them,” says Jim Marcuccilli, chairman and CEO of STAR. “If you’re publicly traded, you usually make those decisions based on quarterly earnings projections. Your investors are not your family, friends and neighbors. They are the people who are in institutions on the east or west coast. So, your whole mentality of how you run the company changes more toward ‘What are other businesses doing?’ versus ‘What do our customers really need?’”
“A lot of companies will say that you should always do what the customer wants, but we say you have to do what’s right,” says Jim. “In a highly regulated industry, there are going to be times when you have to tell someone ‘no’ in order to guide them towards what’s best for them in the long run.”
Technology has played a huge role in the way STAR conducts business and the services it offers its customers to make banking as convenient as possible.
“We have Interactive Teller Machines, which allow us to offer video banking services at all 40 of our branches,” says Kristin. “They’re available in the drive-up lanes and are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You interact with a live banker just like you would if you were to go inside the branch. People love it. We get a lot of repeat customers because the transaction is so fast. It can be done in less than a minute. The only reason it may last longer is because our tellers really get to know their customers and like to talk with them and ask them about their job and their family. It’s also been wonderful for small business owners because they don’t have to make a mad dash to the bank right after work.”
STAR also has a customer service center in Waynedale with more than 150 employees. The call center, located at the service center, is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.
Consistency is another important factor in the STAR culture in terms of the quality of the service as well as the people who deliver it.
“We have people who have worked here 35 to 40 years,” says Kate Miller, SVP, trust officer with STAR. “I think a lot of it is that they can give back to the community and work with the same people they know. It’s a much different dynamic than working for a large institution where you don’t always know your customers.”
“I’d like to emphasize that everybody here has their own phone number,” says Tom Marcuccilli, president of STAR Financial Group. “You don’t have to go through a switchboard when you call us. You can call me direct. It doesn’t go to my assistant. It goes right to my desk.”
Tom says even though STAR is family-owned, he considers all of the employees to be extended family. The employees own about 9% of the bank. He and his STAR family recognize that it is the employees who will take the bank into the future.
“We crafted a vision statement for the company that is very specific on how we want to position our assets for future growth,” says Mike Wallace, SVP, retail banking for STAR. “We are constantly recruiting new talent and training and building our staff from within so that we’re well prepared going into the future and carrying on the STAR legacy.”
Tom, who in the last couple of years has reduced his hours as he edges toward retirement, jokingly says he has passed on 50-percent of his torch. He does so with confidence and words of advice for the STAR team.
“You have to learn how to change and be adaptive to what happens in this world. You can’t stay in the same pattern for the rest of your life because you’ll never be successful. Our next generation at STAR is very forward-thinking, capable and ready to take us into the future.”
Address: 127 W. Berry St. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 467-5500
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