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ABA Banking Journal Podcast

Mar 9, 2023

How does a community bank whose bread and butter was mortgage lending make the business sustainable in a time when mortgages have increasingly moved to the nonbank sector? “We made a conscious decision,” says Benjamin Bochnowski, CEO of $2 billion-asset Peoples Bank in Munster, Indiana. “We had to modernize it and help it grow; it couldn’t exit as a small mortgage operation that only originating $40 million a year in mortgages.”

On the latest episode of the podcast — sponsored by Intrafi — Bochnowski, who is also president and CEO of Peoples’ parent company Finward, talks about how Peoples Bank built a residential mortgage operation that accounts for a third of its real estate lending portfolio and that originated about $80 million in mortgages last year for portfolio (with more sold in the secondary market). He also talks about how the bank deployed new underwriting and servicing platforms to improve operational efficiency and enhance customer experience.

Bochnowski also discusses how Peoples Bank seeks to embody its mutual heritage even after its stock conversion, the bank‘s organic growth strategy and opportunities for M&A deals, and his own career journey in community banking.