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BusINess » Banking

Posts Tagged ‘Banking’

Who’ll pay bigger fees for your debit card use?

Jason Kratovil, lobbyist for the Independent Community Bankers of America, sits at his office in Washington. Bankers and merchants, pillars of the business world and frequent allies, are embroiled in a bitter lobbying war over something Americans do 38 billion times a year, swipe their debit cards. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Jason Kratovil, lobbyist for the Independent Community Bankers of America, sits at his office in Washington. Bankers and merchants, pillars of the business world and frequent allies, are embroiled in a bitter lobbying war over something Americans do 38 billion times a year, swipe their debit cards. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Bankers and merchants, pillars of the business world and frequent allies, are embroiled in a bitter lobbying battle over something Americans do 38 billion times a year — swipe their debit cards. Both sides vigorously claim to speak for consumers.

At stake is $16 billion annually that the Federal Reserve says stores pay to banks and credit card companies when customers use the cards — fees the Fed has proposed cutting.

Cut the fees, banks say, and they’ll have to abandon free checking and boost other charges to consumers to recover lost revenue. Merchants say lower fees would help them drop their prices and expand their businesses.

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NWI-based banks show positive 4Q earnings

Centier Bank, Citizens Bank and Horizon Bank all reported improved fourth-quarter earnings compared to the same period in 2010.

Bank executives said continued economic improvement could sustain progress made since the end of the recession.

Centier Bank

Lowering its loss on securities sales, Centier Bank turned a fourth-quarter profit of $10.2 million.

In the three months ended Dec. 31, the Merrillville-based family-owned bank turned its highest profit level in 2010, compared to a $26.6 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2009.
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Say goodbye to traditional free checking

Free checking as we know it is ending.

The days when you could walk into a bank branch and open an account with no charges and no strings attached appear to be over. Now you have to jump through some hoops—keep a high balance, use direct deposit or swipe your debit card several times a month.

One new account at Bank of America charges $8.95 per month if you want to bank with a teller or get a paper statement.

Almost all of the largest U.S. banks are either already making free checking much more difficult to get or expected to do so soon, with fees on even basic banking services.
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Peoples Bank reflects heritage of Northwest Indiana

David A. Bochnowski, chairman and chief executive officer of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank

David A. Bochnowski, chairman and chief executive officer of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank

Two philosophies have carried Peoples Bank through a century of service and allowed the bank to thrive in every economic climate—building rapport with customers and reinvesting in Northwest Indiana communities.

Three generations of the Bochnowski family have been at the helm of Peoples Bank since John Bochnowski helped found the community bank in 1910. “A Polish immigrant, he arrived in East Chicago with $13 in his pocket,” says his grandson, David Bochnowski, currently chairman and CEO of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank. His father, Ben, took over as president and chairman in 1953. According to Bochnowski, “Up until his retirement in 1976, my father modeled the around-the-clock work ethic needed to run a community bank.”

Today, Peoples Bank has 12 banking centers, two of which are in Merrillville, in Lake and Porter counties—Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Merrillville, Munster, St. John, Schererville and Valparaiso.
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Biz Buzz, Fall 2010

>> CROWN POINT

NICU coming to local hospital this fall

A neonatal intensive care unit is scheduled to open in the fall at Saint Anthony Medical Center, 1201 South Main Street.

The 12-bed unit, slated to open in November, will be housed in the hospital’s maternity department, called the Birth Place. Staff will include neonatalogists and specially trained nurses.

“This is something we have wanted for years,” said Carol Schuster, vice president of patient services. “With our number of annual deliveries now up to around 1,600, we are able to justify the need and better serve our parents and their babies.”
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Large banks earn billions, small banks struggle

U.S. banks are making money again, although a split picture of the industry has emerged since the financial crisis.

The largest banks are thriving, mostly because they can borrow on the cheap and have rid themselves of bad debt. Yet smaller banks lack those advantages and are failing at the fastest pace in years.

Overall, banks made $21.6 billion in net income in the April-to-June quarter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said. It was the highest quarterly level since 2007.

Banks with more than $10 billion in assets—only 1.3 percent of the industry—accounted for $19.9 billion of the total earnings.
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Fed looks for ways to aid small business lending

Business owner James Fouts, of Whiting, asks questions to a panel of speakers regarding the current lending situation during a small business lending forum at Calumet College of St. Joseph in October. (Photograph by The Times.)

Business owner James Fouts, of Whiting, asks questions to a panel of speakers regarding the current lending situation during a small business lending forum at Calumet College of St. Joseph in October. (Photograph by The Times.)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped up pressure on Monday to get banks to boost lending to the nation’s small businesses, a critical element to spurring the economic recovery and reducing unemployment.

Bernanke and other regulators have urged banks since February to increase their lending to smaller companies. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have complained that small businesses that want to take out loans are having trouble getting them. Banks have countered by saying demand is weak.

Bernanke’s latest comments come as legislative efforts to jump-start small business lending have languished and the recovery has been losing momentum. He made them at a Fed conference exploring ways to help boost lending to small companies.
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Biz Buzz, Spring 2010

(Photography by Robert Wray.)

(Photography by Robert Wray.)

>> NORTHWEST INDIANA

Area businesses named as top small businesses

Task Force Tips of Valparaiso was recently named a Small Business of the Year Finalist by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Omnitech Systems of Valparaiso was named a semi-finalist for the same award.

A South Bend-based company that provides friction welding technology and services was honored as the state’s Small Business of the Year by the Indiana Chamber. Manufacturing Technology Inc. was chosen from a field of dozens of nominees from around the state. MTI and other top small businesses were recognized at the recent annual awards luncheon held in downtown Indianapolis.
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David Bochnowski

David A. Bochnowski, the newest board member of BusINess magazine, didn’t originally plan to be a banker.

“I always joke that I came up in banking the hard way. I had a great deal of exposure to the bank, and I remember the days of posting ledgers by hand, back when digitalizing was a revolutionary concept,” says the chairman and CEO of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank, an institution started by Bochnowski’s grandfather in East Chicago.

“But as much as I enjoyed the banking environment, my family encouraged me to explore the world beyond. I credit my parents for piquing my interest in other cultures and specialties.” Bochnowski explored his interest in foreign service by spending the summer of 1967 in Lesotho, Africa, with a faith-based group called Crossroads Africa.

“It was a rewarding experience,” he says. “I enrolled in Howard University for a master’s degree in African studies.”
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Recovery gains steam, but so do business failures

Businesses with the resources to succeed have more spring in their step as the national recovery begins to take hold. But some smaller businesses and the construction sector continue to suffer significant hangovers from the Great Recession.

The Times Board of Economists, made up of 23 business leaders from across the region, predicted the local economy’s health will score a 6.3 on a scale of 1 to 10 during the next three months. That’s a significant bounce from the score of 4.71 board members gave it just three months ago. And it’s an even bigger bounce from the score of 4.38 members gave it six months ago.

The board met April 21 at the Patio Restaurant in Merrillville.
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