Like many industries, banking has evolved in recent years, from changing regulations to consumer behavior. A family-owned, Indiana community bank established in 1943, STAR Financial has kept ahead of the changes with an innovative approach to their branch network. A partnership with The Hagerman Group has helped them realize their vision.
At right: A STAR Financial freestanding bank branch in Fort Wayne, designed by Tim Ryan, Buffalo, NY, who developed the original concept for STAR’s new branches, and MKM architecture + design.
A pivotal partnership
In 2015, STAR Financial—which provides banking, mortgage, investing, credit card, wealth management, and insurance services—made a strategic decision to transform their existing branches and expand into new locations. Having worked with Hagerman on projects including their downtown Columbia City location and their service center in Fort Wayne, STAR engaged Hagerman to help them implement the transformation. Today, the two companies have worked on upwards of 30 projects together.
“Our partnership with Hagerman is among the most significant relationships we have, and we value it for a number of reasons,” said Kristin Marcuccilli, chief operating officer, STAR Financial.
A new model for banking
STAR’s transformation recognizes that while consumers’ and businesses’ banking preferences are evolving, physical branches are still important.
“Most accounts are still opened at branch locations, and surveys show people choose banks close to where they live because it offers that peace of mind,” Kristin said. “While people may visit their branch less often, when they do come in, they are seeking trusted advice on their finances—true relationship banking. We have to meet our customers where they are in their journeys, and that requires a constant balance in reinventing our delivery channels. Our branch network and digital banking platform have been our most significant reinventions.”
That reinvention involved modernizing the interiors of the bank branches with a technology-forward, approachable design and implementing a smaller footprint for new facilities.
“We knew we needed a construction partner we could trust, and the project management side was critical to make sure we were efficient, consistent and cost effective,” said Kristin. “The Hagerman Group has been outstanding in their ability to manage multiple renovations at a time and be respectful of our team. Whatever we’ve thrown their way and at whatever pace, Hagerman has delivered, and they’re honest about what we’re able to achieve. It’s a relief to know you have a reliable, talented team that produces quality work.”
In addition to navigating changes within their industry, STAR Financial has adapted to disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We appreciated how willing our customers were to adapt by using new digital banking features and appointment-only visits,” Kristin said. “Our team quickly identified and implemented scheduling software that we’ll continue to use because it enhances customer convenience.”
Core values and community
Kristin feels the modernization of STAR Financial’s branches signifies they are “here to stay and invested locally.”
“Our core values come through in each project,” Kristin said. “Being progressive is one of our values, and the fresh, distinct look of our branches demonstrates that the moment you walk in. The projects have been amazing for the morale of our staff, and they illustrate the commitment that STAR has to Indiana. We couldn’t have done it without our partners at Hagerman.”
The STAR/Hagerman relationship extends beyond freestanding bank branches and includes unique projects within the community. STAR Financial is featured in Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana’s JA BizTown, an interactive, simulated environment that engages students in the roles of workers and consumers. In addition, STAR partnered with Zionsville High School and Zionsville School Corporation to introduce a banking center in the high school. The space includes a learning zone for students and introduces job shadowing and internship opportunities.
In addition to collaborating on special projects, Hagerman and STAR both place a high priority on giving back to their communities and have collaborated on several fundraising events and volunteer opportunities for nonprofit organizations.
“STAR Financial is a like-minded company, and we share a lot of traits, from our core values to our family-owned structure,” said Brad Smith, executive vice president, Hagerman. “By helping STAR Financial prepare for what’s next in banking and working with them on community and educational projects, Hagerman is living our vision of ‘Building a Better Future.’ We’re grateful to consider them one of our long-term clients and partners.”