MILFORD – While other banks have left the community of Milford, Lake City Bank rebuilt its branch office just a few blocks from its former location.
On Wednesday, bank officials and Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building at 202 S. Higbee St., Milford.
In his comments before the ribbon-cutting, Lake City Bank President and Chief Executive Officer David Findlay thanked everyone for attending.
“This has been, in a lot of respects, a labor of love for (Executive Vice President) Kevin Deardorff, who’s our head of retail banking and recently announced that he’s going to transition into retirement at the bank. I think this office might have something to do with that,” Findlay said, drawing laughter. “I say that and I am joking, but I’m not joking, because what we’ve done here, with this office in Milford, is a tribute to what Kevin has done for Lake City Bank over the last 29 years, with his commitment to the entire bank and every community we’re in. But I think it’s fair to say he’s got a special place in his heart and a passion for our smaller communities that we serve in the Lake City Bank world.”
LCB has 50 offices and the Milford office is the last one Deardorff worked on, Findlay said.
“It is particularly special for us because Kevin cares so much about the rural communities we operate in, in the smaller towns,” Findlay said. “I think that gives an observation that I get to make, too, about what is going on around us in banking.”
With the new Milford office, he said LCB is committed to its smaller communities like Milford.
“And I won’t name names, but certain other banks don’t feel the same way about Milford. We’re happy to have them gone and we’re happy to be here,” Findlay said.
Just a few miles south to Leesburg, he said there’s another empty bank building that was the victim of another bank consolidation.
“And it’s no small issue that we’re making this kind of capital commitment in a community like Milford. It’s a real statement of what the community means to us and a real statement from an organization perspective of what our small towns means to us,” Findlay said.
Of the 50 LCB offices, he estimated 25 are in smaller, rural communities and 25 are in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw.
Findlay then introduced Cheryl Luke, assistant vice president, retail banking officer.
She said, “Of course, I’m going to get choked up because I moved here from Nebraska 24 years ago, and I grew up in farming town very similar to this. And I am so excited that the bank invested in this community because I truly have met some extraordinary people, and I think the best is yet to come. Dream big, Milford, because … I just really think there’s going to be a lot of good things that are going to come to this community.”
Luke said she was excited about the new office building.
“I asked for some paint and maybe some different pictures on my walls in the office, and here we are! We definitely have some new paint and some new pictures. Very excited!” she said.
She recognized Senior Retail Banker Carrie Trim and Retail Banker Nancy Hernandez, who she said she “couldn’t do it without them.”
Findlay recognized Milford Town Council President Doug Ruch, Chief of Police Derek Kreider, town Trustee Becky Ellis and town Clerk-Treasurer Patricia Gall.
“Thank you for being here. Thanks for what the town of Milford has done for us,” he told them.