7 Questions With...

Brooks Diller, Market President - Fort Wayne, Horizon Bank
Jun 8, 2023
Tim Brumbeloe
7 Questions With...

Although Brooks Diller calls the start of his banking career an accident, his promotion to Fort Wayne Market President for Horizon Bank was anything but. Named successor to Jay Maddox in October 2022, Diller knows he has big shoes to fill and is up for the challenge. We caught up with him to chat about his current role, learned about his involvement with Mustard Seed Furniture Bank and found out he’s a bit of a Star Wars nerd, too.

Q1: Tell us about your career path and what lead you to your current position.
My banking career started as an accident. I used a tag line early in my career: I’m an accountant pretending to be a banker. In 1992 I worked for Fort Wayne National Bank, working full time in the mail room. I had intentions of obtaining a CPA certification, but working full time and raising my two children changed that. I ended up taking the long, part-time college path through IPFW, eventually earning a Bachelor’s in Accounting and an MBA. During my college years, I worked my way up through various back-office positions, retail management positions, and finally got into business and commercial banking. By the time I was ready to change professions, I realized I really loved the business aspect of banking. I love customer relationships and the ability to work with many types of businesses and business owners. I began working for Salin Bank in 2012 and, through an acquisition, it became Horizon Bank in 2019. The community-minded leadership team at Horizon Bank has been wonderful to work with. They’ve helped me grow both personally and professionally. 

Q2: What are some wins you’ve experienced since being named market president of Fort Wayne last October?
Filling Jay Maddox’s shoes as he moves into retirement is a big task. I wish him well and appreciate the mentorship he provided me over the past four years. There have been many successes since the beginning of 2023: restructuring our team, starting new initiatives and working with new customer relationships, to name a few. But what I’m most proud of is forthcoming. We are currently working with a local entity that will provide a much needed service in an underserved area of Fort Wayne. Once the project is announced, the community will see the support Horizon Bank is providing not only through financial avenues, but also through continued financial literacy initiatives.

Q3: Tell us about your work with the Mustard Seed Furniture Bank. How did you become involved with the organization and what does it mean to you?
I first met Executive Director Suzie Jordan at Mustard Seed back in 2012 when I joined Salin Bank. Over the years I’ve witnessed her passion and the Seed’s mission, and started to gain interest in the cause. I joined the board of directors in 2018 and became the treasurer a few years ago. Mustard Seed’s mission is to help families through catastrophic events by giving them a furnished place to live, in order to provide a safe environment for their family. I really take pride in our Beds4Kids program. There are situations where children don’t have a bed to sleep in or they share a small bed with a handful of others. There are families that don’t have a table and chairs, so kids don’t have a dedicated homework space. We furnish their homes so they can have a better environment that promotes healthy learning habits.

Q4: Tell us a bit about your family and what you can be found doing in your free time.
I’m recently an empty-nester, so that’s something I’m trying to get used to. My daughter is a freshman at Michigan State University and is enjoying life on campus. My son, who recently graduated with his accounting degree, moved into a new home with my wonderful daughter-in-law and my precious granddaughter, Avery. I enjoy family events and our weekly “Diller Family Dinner” at my parents’. My sisters, nephews and children always attend. In the summer you’ll find me up at the lake or camping. I really enjoy skiing and trips to Colorado with my friends in the winter. I dabble in playing guitar, and so do my son and daughter. It’s always fun playing with them or teaching them a new song. I'm a "Star Wars" nerd, so count me in when it comes to all things Star Wars and related shows. 

Q5: What is the most rewarding part of your job and the most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is the customer relationships — the ability to help clients achieve their goals by providing the proper financing and financial advice. Through the years I have had the ability to meet so many individuals that have turned into friends. The challenges lie in having to navigate through the ever-changing economic conditions that not only affect the banking industry, but our clients as well. There are good times, but also times like the tech-bubble burst, the ’08 real estate crisis, the pandemic, and now the rapid interest rate increase and inflation.

Q6: What is your go to hang-out spot in Fort Wayne?
When hanging out with friends, I really enjoy food truck Thursday’s at Teds Beerhall. Their outdoor area is great for families to enjoy, and they have good food and entertainment. For the best wings in town, Corner Pocket Pub is the place. Outside of that, I’m more of an outdoor person and enjoy hikes through the local trails, biking and visiting various parks around Allen County.

Q7: What is the most memorable vacation you’ve been on?
I’ve been on many memorable vacations with family and friends. Last year, I took my daughter and parents on a Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) trip. We started at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and drove the PCH up through northern California. Not only were the views and small towns fantastic, but we got to check off a bucket list item for my father by seeing the Redwoods. 


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