Lending a Hand to Southeast Fort Wayne
1st Source Bank and the Penta C.S. Group are teaming up to provide a big boost for Fort Wayne’s southeast side. That boost is a 1st Source Loan Production Office (LPO) in the Penta Group’s Minority Entrepreneurial Center at 2513 South Calhoun St. The LPO will generate loans for businesses, agricultural loans for farmers, consumer loans and mortgages.
“We will have meetings by appointment only (initially) while we are looking for our Loan Production Office employee,” said 1st Source Vice President and Fort Wayne Regional Sales Manager Debra Moser. “We really want this person to get out into the community and get to know people, learn about their businesses and their needs. We want to build relationships and trust so we can help people realize their dreams.”
1st Source will also provide financial wellness classes in the Entrepreneurial Center and other locations throughout the community. Fort Wayne’s southeast side has struggled economically since the 1980s when businesses such as International Harvester closed, eliminating thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs.
“John Dortch and I have had several conversations about the needs of this community, and this is a great opportunity to fill some of those needs,” said Moser. “We have both lived in this area and together we have been looking for a way to give back. The loan production office will help a lot of people, but the educational piece is very important too.”
John Dortch is the Penta C.S. Group President and he is very proud of the Minority Entrepreneurial Center. It provides low cost office space, conference rooms and other services for minority business owners and organizations. It’s an investment he and his partners made five years ago when they purchased the building and renovated it.
“1st Source is our eighth tenant and we are now full,” said Dortch. “The demand for space in this building has really increased over the years.”
Dortch believes the presence of 1st Source in the building and in the area should fuel more opportunities for small businesses and economic growth. He believes more banks should get involved in areas of cities that have been hit hard economically.
“Banks need to do more, but it needs to be a partnership like we are doing here with 1st Source,” he said. “I decided to get involved with 1st Source because I believe in what they are doing, and I believe in what they stand for. I’m very pleased we were able to get this partnership together.”
That partnership combines the resources and expertise of 1st Source with the connections and credibility Dortch and his partners have established with businesses, churches and organizations, especially on the city’s southeast side. Moser and Dortch are both optimistic about the impact the LPO could have on new development in the area and the opportunities it will provide for the people who live there.