When computer guy David Becker, Founder, President, and CEO of First Internet Bank had the idea for a “branchless bank” that lived entirely online, he knew it would game changer for the banking industry. However, getting others to recognize this was a challenge.
When presenting the concept to a prominent bank in Indiana in the mid ’90s, Becker was shot down immediately and told there was a lack of consumer demand for such a platform.
“The CEO told me ‘it would not work’,” noted Becker. “They could not understand why a computer guy wanted to get into banking.”
At the time, Becker owned three financial services software companies, primarily focusing on processing for small community banks. With his work within the financial industry, he recognized an opportunity—and need—to improve banking functions. The rise of the internet had resulted in the emergence of online financial services and “at home” banking platforms, but no financial institution had ever operated exclusively online.
In typical startup fashion, Becker continued to move forward with his vision, only motivated by the skeptical reactions he received. After garnering feedback from focus groups, comprised of friends and neighbors, Becker confirmed that the doubt he had received from the brick and mortar banks was not shared by consumers,
and a demand for an exclusively online bank did in fact exist.
Upon acquiring the necessary funding and pushing through the three and a half years of regulatory hurdles, Becker brought his vision to reality, with the opening of First Internet Bank’s virtual doors in 1999.
Since going live in 1999, First Internet Bank has continued its original mission to deliver a streamlined and simplistic banking system, with an
emphasis on the customer. “We are about the customer, and we believe in doing the right thing by the customer,” said Nicole Lorch, Executive VP and COO.
In operating exclusively online, First Internet Bank has eliminated the overhead costs commonly associated with traditional brick and mortar banks, while serving a customer base, not only in Indiana, but across the U.S.
“90 days after going live in 1999, we had a client in each of the 50 states, across the U.S.,” said Becker.
Holding nearly $3.7 million in assets and growing at a rate of 30 percent per year (typical rates for traditional banks are in the single digits), First Internet Bank’s internal growth has propelled the company into their next chapter, which will take place in Downtown Fishers.
RELOCATING TO DOWNTOWN FISHERS
Initially moving its mortgage operations to Fishers in 2013, First Internet Bank’s corporate headquarters has existed at 11201 USA Parkway for nearly seven years. However internal growth prompted Becker to begin considering options for expansion.
“This is our fifth headquarters location in twenty years,” said Becker. “We initially thought we might be able to lease some of the space in this building to another company, but we’re already starting to burst at the seams. Every time we have settled in a new place, our growth has required us to upsize.”
Prior to setting their sites on the downtown Fishers location, First Internet Bank was considering expanding their existing building on
USA Parkway. However, the downtown Fishers climate was more enticing to the company in the long run. Citing a multitude of factors contributing to the decision to relocate to the Nickel Plate District, Becker notes the future Nickel Plate Trail, along with the vibrancy and the walkability of the downtown, as a few of the most anticipated conveniences for their employees to enjoy.
“The Nickel Plate Trail was really the icing on the cake, when deciding to move to Downtown Fishers,” stated Becker. “The parking garage was attractive, for when it is snowy and nasty, and the ability to walk to lunch is also exciting for our employees.”
Breaking ground this summer, a $157 million project, encompassing the north and south sides of 116th Street, in the downtown area, will transform the area bordered by the Nickel Plate to the west, Moore Street to the east, North Street to the north, and South Street to the south. First Internet Bank plans to relocate its headquarters to the six story and 168,000 square foot office building, featuring ground floor retail space that will serve as the anchor on the south side of 116th Street. A parking garage and a boutique hotel are expected to complete this development.
A COMMUNITY PARTNER
As First Internet Bank enters the next phase in their growth, Becker and leadership not only aim to build upon their foundation of customer focused banking, but they also intend to continue their commitment to community involvement. Since their inception, First Internet Bank has placed an emphasis on community involvement, encouraging employees to volunteer, while also supporting their employees’ personal charitable interests.
“We really want to give back to our community,” said Lorch. “and if we are able to fuel [our employees’] passions, they bring that excitement to work. We want to encourage our employees’ interests and let them grow.”
First Internet Bank recognizes the importance in contributing to the development of strong community and is actively involved in a variety of local initiatives, including Habitat for Humanity and the US 2020 STEM program.
Reflecting their commitment to community involvement, here in Fishers, First Internet Bank will be serving as the presenting sponsor of this year’s Spark! Fishers festival, taking place on June 28th and June 29th, in the Nickel Plate District.
“First Internet Bank is delighted to sponsor the Spark! Fishers event in celebration of this great community,” said Becker “Being headquartered in Fishers, we’re incredibly proud to support this favorite summer tradition in our hometown. It’s especially significant to be a part of the event as we connect one milestone—our 20th anniversary this year—with our future as we break ground on our new headquarters in downtown Fishers.”