When West Coast banks began failing and abruptly closing their doors last spring, some local business owners turned to STAR for help.
“We were getting calls on a Sunday night from small business owners in our footprint who had funds in these banks and weren’t sure if they’d be able to make payroll that week. They asked us if we could help them move everything over so they could pay their employees,” says Kristin Marcuccilli, President of STAR Financial Group. “We always strive to position ourselves operationally to be the bank that families and businesses can rely on when something uneasy occurs, so we can step in and support them like we did last spring. That points directly to the heart of who we are. We know that nothing is more important than our customers and the community. Without them, we would not be successful.”
It was 80 years ago this month that the original four founding members opened the first STAR bank in 1943 in Upland, Indiana: Selah Wright, Thomas Marcuccilli, Arthur Hodson and Ralph Marcuccilli. The name “STAR” was derived from the first letter of each founder’s first name.
Starting out small, STAR quickly expanded and grew over the years. It now has 500 employees and 37 locations in central and northeast Indiana.
Being family-owned and operated and locally owned has always proven to be an asset for the company. Brothers Jim and Tom Marcuccilli and their partner, Tom Wright, have all been intentional in the way they hire family members and plan for the bank’s future.
“In the mid-to-late 90s, the three of us sat down and laid out a set of rules regarding the inclusion of family members,” says Jim Marcuccilli, Chairman & CEO, STAR Bank. “As we’ve grown larger and banking has become more sophisticated, we realized we needed more specialists. We agreed if our children wanted to be a part of the company, the best thing was to require they get a college degree and then go work somewhere else for five years. They needed to prove themselves before becoming part of our management team. Today, we have seven family members here, and all are very experienced and capable. In fact, five of the seven have their MBA and all have attended graduate banking school over the past 10 years.”
“We grew up in the banking business and Jim and I worked in various jobs at STAR in high school and college, so the path was always there for us to follow,” says Tom Marcuccilli, Chairman, STAR Financial Group. “It’s always been important for us to be a full-service community bank, specializing in taking care of small to mid-size businesses. We are constantly evolving to keep up with technology and customer needs, but our core values of being committed to our customers and the community have never changed, and never will.”
Tom’s daughter is Kate Miller, who is President, Private Advisory and whose husband is the CFO.
“The generation above us has really guided us and given us enough of the rope to feel comfortable,” says Miller. “I’ve been with STAR nearly 10 years, and over the years there’s been a steady intensification of duties. It was all very strategic, as we now look to the future when the younger generation will be running the company. So, slowly, we’ve been allowed to make some decisions as well as some mistakes along the way. But we know we’ll be prepared.”
The family members at STAR all credit many long-time employees for contributing to the company’s success.
Tony Stanley is the Facilities & Purchasing Coordinator and has worked for STAR for 34 years.
“The people are the main reason I work at STAR,” he says. “Obviously, to drive 100 miles a day for 23 years to work here, there has to be a good reason. STAR has provided me a source to support my wife and five kids while enjoying what I do.”
Customer Solutions Manager John Brita is coming up on his 20th anniversary at STAR.
“I wanted to work for a local bank instead of the large bank where I worked previously. STAR is like family — we are treated like family. This institution has given me many opportunities to learn and grow as a banker.”
Both Stanley and Brita will soon be moving into STAR’s new office on Main Street in downtown Fort Wayne.
“The new headquarters will bring our back office and corporate offices under one roof, which will continue to enhance our ability to work together as a team,” says Brittainy Chaffee, AVP, Private Banking. “STAR has a true commitment to the communities that we serve and are a part of.”
Neither Tom nor Jim Marcuccilli has set an official date for retirement, but they do say it’s on the horizon.
“The most gratifying part of being in the banking industry is to have the opportunity to work with customers, whether it’s on a personal or family basis or business basis, and to watch them grow and financially get better,” says Jim. “We’ve seen a number of companies start and grow, and then pass on to the next generation and it’s rewarding to see them experience success.”
“We’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to work in a family business, and maintain and continue to be a private entity, which is really challenging for a lot of families,” says Tom. “We always say the next generation is probably going to do a lot better than we did because they’re smarter and most likely won’t make mistakes. It’s just fun watching them take ownership of something that means so much to all of us.”
Address: 127 W. Berry St., Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 467-5500
Years in Business: 80
Number of Employees: 500
Products & Services: STAR Financial is an Indiana community bank providing banking, mortgage, investing, credit card and wealth management at 37 locations in central and northeast Indiana