Our Community

Community banks are invested in their communities and their customers. Here at First Federal, we thrive when our customers and communities do the same, so taking care of our customers and looking out for the best interest of our community is ingrained in the way we conduct our business.

When calling us, be assured that you are talking to someone who lives and works in the same community you do. Go local and bank locally with us! The money invested in your local community bank will be reinvested in ways that drive the local economy, such as in the form of loans to local residents who want to buy a home. By driving local economies and creating local jobs, community banks are an integral part of our financial system and play a key role in our nation's economic recovery.

First Federal takes pride in great customer service and with reinvesting in our Van Wert and surrounding communities.


First Federal Welcomes Public to Renovated Building

“As long as the Van Wert community continues to succeed we feel like we’re going to as well.” Brian Renner, the president and C.E.O. of First Federal of Van Wert, expressed this mindset often when showcasing the renovated building in preparation of their open house on Saturday, July 16. In the spring of 2020, Renner explained that the bank had such good growth that they ran out of office space. Rather than just build more offices, Renner decided that they could better serve their customers and employees by modernizing the whole building.

Foremost of these changes were to the deposit area, which now offers customers new banking features and more privacy. “In the old teller line, each teller position was side by side by side,” Renner explained. “This day and age, privacy is a big issue and we want to make sure our customers have enough privacy.” Instead of a teller line, the bank now offers three offices where customers can sit down and receive customer service, knowing that their information is secure and no one is listening.

Those aren’t the only new offices in the building. The modernization of the bank created nine additional offices in the building.  Renner stressed that it’s important for local companies to grow. “We are a local institution from a local board. All decisions are made locally so Van Wert’s very important for us,” he said. “We feel if Van Wert succeeds that we’re going to succeed.”

First Federal is offering the community more than just their banking expertise. Part of the renovations is a new boardroom open to the public for meetings. The new boardroom, or multipurpose room, offers a state of the art camera system, two multicast televisions, and a state of the art speaker system. “We’re really excited about that room, not only for a new place for our board meeting and our staff meetings but if an organization needs a place to meet they can use it,” Renner said. Numerous organizations have already been using the room, including the Van Wert Area Chamber, The Van Wert County Foundation, and The Van Wert Forward.

Of course, the public aren’t the only ones getting access to upgrades. All of First Federal’s employees were upgraded to sit-stand automated desks, in addition to multi screen computer setups. “They say sitting is the new smoking or something like that, where it’s not good for you to sit all day,” Renner said. “Whether employees stand for a couple hours a day, I don’t make them, but this gives them that option to get up and be able to work. I want to make it a good working environment for everyone.”

First Federal currently has 22 employees and four departments; deposits, loans, operations, and accounting. The four department leaders formed Renner’s building team. “A part of the project was [figuring out] efficiencies to make sure each department had enough storage, enough resources, and they’re in their own section that way they’re not running across the bank,” Renner explained.

In addition, Renner worked with Design Collaborative out of Fort Wayne, architecture group, and Structure First, project consultant. The construction took three phases, starting March 24 of 2021. Renner estimates that the bulk of the work was from March to December, wrapping up in January of 2022.

“It felt like forever but it was well worth it,” Renner said. “The project turned out very, very well and very close to how we envisioned the start.” About every area of the interior received renovation or modernization, whether it was paint, carpet, new windows or doors. “We stayed open during the whole process which we knew was going to be a challenge,” Renner said. “I commend my employees for working through that and I appreciate the patience and cooperation of our customers as well cause I know that wasn’t easy for them either.” The project isn’t quite finished. Renner revealed that they are still waiting for some backordered waiting room furniture.

Aside from that, the bank is moving forward and continuing to grow with the addition of a new commercial lending program. “What the future holds, we’re not sure, but we feel like we will be able to add employees when we need them and have the space to do so and the technologies to do so.”

Renner has received very positive feedback from the community. “It was a change for a lot of customers, but they appreciate the privacy. Once they get used to the flow of how the building is, everybody’s been very positive about it.”

Posted 7/20/2022 (Article from Van Wert Times Bulletin)

Open House Image 3
Brian Renner, President/CEO cuts the ribbon, officially opening the newly renovated building. Holding the ribbon from
left to right are department leaders Suzie Grimes, Lisa Lawson, Diana Cearns, and Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce
President and CEO Mark Verville.Open House Image 6

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Open House Image 5Open House Image 1
First Federal is Van Wert Live Sponsor

Van Wert LIVE is honored to present First Federal of Van Wert as a 2022 annual sponsor. First Federal is committed to the Van Wert Live mission to provide entertainment that is so good it demands a return. This $10,000 partnership goes directly to bringing the shows and keeping ticket prices low.

First Federal of Van Wert has been a valued partner of The Niswonger since its inception. The First Federal Lecture Hall of The Niswonger, located off the lobby, welcomes thousands of guests each year through business meetings, school functions, and special events.

“First Federal is proud to be an annual sponsor for 2022. We are excited about the terrific entertainment options that the Niswonger Performing Arts Center provides for the Van Wert community. It’s incredible to have so many wonderful concerts, Broadway plays and children’s shows right here in Van Wert. First Federal is thrilled to be able to be a part of this excitement!” stated Brian Renner, CEO of First Federal of Van Wert.

Van Wert Live HQ is located at 10700 State Route 118 S, Van Wert, and presents entertainment at The Niswonger, The Grandstand, and Fountain Park. The VWLive box office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Find out more information at www.vanwertlive.com. Posted 2/7/2022

VW Live Donation

First Federal Announces Chairperson Retirement

The Board of Directors and the Employees of First Federal of Van Wert are honored to announce the retirement of our Chairperson, Michael T. Cross.
“While we are saddened to see him leave our Board, we are thankful and grateful for his many contributions over his 30 years at First Federal,” says Brian Renner, President.

Cross began his banking career in 1964 working for People’s Bank & Trust. He also worked at Van Wert National Bank before he started at First Federal in 1991. Cross became President of First Federal in 1995 before retiring from that position in 2011.

Cross joined the Board of Directors of First Federal in 1995 and he became the Chairperson in 2013. He will oversee his final meeting on January 19th, 2022. Cross is joined on the First Federal Board of Directors by Paul Svabik, Andy Czajkowski, Randy Myers, Pat Jackson, and Renner. Jackson will succeed Cross as the Chairperson.

“Mike has been an incredible member of the First Federal family. He’s been a tremendous colleague, mentor, and friend. Mike has been a big reason why First Federal continues to be successful and continues to grow,” adds Renner.

Congratulations on your retirement!  Posted 1/19/2022

Mike Cross Retirement 

First Federal Announces the Addition of Thad Eikenbary

First Federal of Van Wert, OH is excited to announce the hiring of Thad Eikenbary, who will be joining the organization as a Commercial Loan Officer. Eikenbary is a 1987 graduate of Van Wert High School and a 1991 graduate of Ohio Northern University with a BSBA in Accounting and Finance. Thad was employed with Central Mutual Insurance for 29 years where he held the positions of Vice President/Treasurer from 2003 to 2020 and Corporate Accounting Manager from 1991 to 2003.

Eikenbary and his wife, Laura, reside in Van Wert and have three children: Jacey, Lauren, and Carter. The Eikenbary family are members of Calvary Evangelical Church. Thad has been active in the community, as he served on the YMCA Board and the Van Wert Area Youth for Christ Board.

"I am thrilled to be able to have a talent like Thad join our team at First Federal. He brings an incredible skillset and adds another community-minded person to our staff," said Brian Renner, President of First Federal. "With his wealth of knowledge and his financial analysis expertise, Thad will be a great addition to First Federal. Thad will help create, build and lead our commercial lending program. While the commercial program will be new to First Federal, Thad is a perfect fit to direct this initiative and to help the Van Wert community with its needs."

First Federal of Van Wert is a locally owned and operated institution serving the Van Wert community since 1893. As an independent community bank, First Federal takes great pride in supporting the Van Wert community. Posted 4/5/2021

Thad Announcement

First Federal holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for Building Expansion

On Tuesday, March 30th, community members gathered at First Federal of Van Wert to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony. Recently, the bank announced an expansion project for their building on Fox Road. “First Federal has a long history in Van Wert County,” said President/CEO of First Federal Brian Renner, who noted the bank was founded in 1893. “Initially, we were downtown for many decades. We came out to this facility in 1997. So 23-plus years later, Van Wert has continued to grow and that has enabled First Federal to continue to grow.”

Construction crews were already at work on the new expansion which will add space to the back of the building. Several new offices and a larger meeting room will be added. Additionally, the existing building will be renovated and will include a modernized lobby, updated existing offices, and an updated teller area. 

Renner noted that First Federal’s building team of Adam Ries, Suzie Grimes, Diana Cearns, and Lisa Lawson worked with Design Collaborative and Structure First to come up with a building plan for the expansion/renovation project. Minster firm H.A. Dorsten was then hired as general contractor, while several local companies, including National Door & Trim, K&L Ready Mix, Lee’s Ace Hardware, Ayers Mechanical Group, and Overholt Moorman, were hired to work as subcontractors on the project.

The project will be completed in phases and First Federal will maintain normal business hours to take care of customers’ banking needs. While the lobby is currently accessible by appointment only, the drive-thru will continue to remain open throughout the entire construction project.

Footers and other foundation work have already started, a decision to start work while the lobby was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Posted 3/31/2021

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First Federal Announces Building Project

Building Project Picture

First Federal of Van Wert, OH is proud to announce a building expansion commencing this spring. The construction will add several new offices and a larger meeting room while also renovating the existing building. The renovation will include modernizing the bank’s lobby, existing offices, and teller area.

"We are excited for what this growth means for our employees, our customers, and our community. This project is a collaboration of growth and looking toward the future," says Brian Renner, President/CEO of First Federal. "The growth we've experienced is a result of the success of the Van Wert community and the confidence our customers have in First Federal."

The project was modeled by Design Collaborative and Structure First. H.A. Dorsten, from Minster, OH, will be the general contractor who will be utilizing local subcontractors for various parts of the project. While the project will be completed in phases, First Federal will maintain normal business hours to take care of all customer banking needs. First Federal is committed to outstanding customer service even if the lobby may not be accessible at times during the renovation. Drive-thru banking will remain open through the entire construction project, and First Federal offers a full range of online and mobile banking options.

"We listened to our customers, we reviewed our goals, and we reviewed the efficiencies of our business. It was clear that we needed to make some improvements to the facility to make banking better for our customers and the Van Wert community. With this plan in place, we are improving the banking experience for our customers for years to come," Renner explained.

“It’s hard to believe it has been 23 years since we built our office on Fox Road. The building is in good shape, but it is also in need of an addition and an update to handle the growing needs of our customers and our community,” added Michael Cross, Chairman of First Federal. “With our renovation, First Federal will move forward into the ever-changing banking industry with the newest technology and equipment available.”

First Federal will provide updates to the community on the status of the project and possible lobby closures. Due to the pandemic, the lobby is currently closed for the safety of the community and the employees. The institution will begin construction while the lobby is closed to minimize the impact to customers.

First Federal of Van Wert is a locally owned and operated institution serving the Van Wert community since 1893. As an independent community bank, First Federal takes great pride in supporting the Van Wert community.  Posted 2/26/2021

First Federal receives Superior 5-Star Rating

First Federal of Van Wert announces it has once again received a Superior 5-Star rating from Bauer Financial, Inc. of Coral Gables, Florida, the nation's leading bank rating and research firm. Bauer Financial, Inc. has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983. A 5-Star rating signifies that First Federal is one of the strongest banks in the nation, being dependable and financially sound. To earn the Superior 5-Star rating, First Federal must excel in areas of capital, asset quality, profitability and much more. First Federal has earned this 5-Star Superior rating for the latest 91 consecutive quarters. Bauer Financial has stated "Fewer than 10% of the Nation's Financial Institutions can claim this distinction". Established in 1893, First Federal has been serving its local communities for 128 years.  Posted 2/25/2021

Bauer Logo 2021

Jackson named to First Federal Board

Pat Jackson

First Federal of Van Wert announces the election of Patrick J. Jackson to its Board of Directors. Jackson was elected at the annual meeting on January 20, and will join other directors, including Michael T. Cross, Paul Svabik, J. Andrew Czajkowski, Brian Renner, and Randy Myers.
Jackson is currently chief operations officer at National Door & Trim. Prior to that, he had worked at Central Mutual Insurance Company for nearly 20 years, holding various management positions including vice president and regional manager.

Jackson is a Van Wert High School graduate and a graduate of Bowling Green State University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree.

Jackson and his wife, Shanann, have four children, Allyson, Abbygaile, Tyson, and Nathan. He and his family attend First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.

Jackson has been active in the community, which includes being a board member and classroom consultant for Junior Achievement of Van Wert County for over 20 years.

“The Board and I are excited for Pat to join our organization. He adds a lot of expertise and business experience to First Federal. Pat is a community-minded person that understands our mission to help the Van Wert community thrive,” said First Federal President Brian Renner. “We are proud of our service and commitment to Van Wert and Pat only strengthens that mission.”

First Federal of Van Wert is a locally owned and operated institution that has been serving the Van Wert community since 1893. First Federal has been ranked as a 5-star financial institution for more than seven years. First Federal was also honored in 2020 as one of the top 200 Healthiest Banks by DepositAccount.com (a subsidiary of Lending Tree).  Posted 2/12/2021

First Federal donates to Van Wert County Humane Society

First Federal is proud to support the ongoing efforts and much needed expansion of the Van Wert County Humane Society through this donation to their new building campaign.  

 Humane Society Picture

First Federal of Van Wert recently pledged $25,000 to the Van Wert County Humane Society's capital campaign. A new shelter/adoption center is planned for construction on Fox Road. Pictured above is First Federal employee, Suzie Grimes; Deb Sealscott VWCHS board president; employees Sheila Tumbusch, Jennifer Longstreth, Connie Bassett and Tina Miller; board member, Andy Czajkowski and President, Brian Renner. "As a community bank First Federal is invested in the Van Wert community. We are happy to be part of the humane society's endeavor," stated Renner.  Posted 8/21/2020

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Whether you are a first-time home buyer, looking for a new home, refinancing your existing home or in need of a home equity line of credit, First Federal has a variety of residential mortgage loan products to fit your borrowing needs.  If it is your business that requires financing, our commercial lender can help find a solution to your needs.

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