Steve Bechman, a 42-year veteran of the banking industry, retired April 28 from Horizon Bank, Michigan City, Ind. Bechman began his banking career at what was then Bargersville State Bank, which later became Citizens Bank of Central Indiana. He worked his way up and eventually became market president.
In 1997, he and three banking colleagues, including Jeff Goben, quit their jobs and started Heartland Community Bank in Franklin, Ind., with Bechman at the helm as president and CEO.
Starting the bank was a highlight of his career, Bechman said. They built the bank up to five branches and $248.6 million and survived the Great Recession before choosing to sell the bank to Horizon. “We could see the banking industry going to the bigger banks,” he said. “We thought it was time, and the market was good. And Horizon had the same philosophies as us, as far as community involvement and giving back to the community. Plus, they had a commitment to their employees, too – and to me, that’s number one. You have to have a good team around you and take care of them.”
Bechman stayed on with the bank as Johnson County Market President, where all five offices of Heartland had been located until his retirement. Goben also stayed with the bank until his retirement in 2014. Both men were recognized in December with the Indiana Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award for their accomplishments and contributions to their community.
Looking back on his time in the banking industry, Bechman felt the most valuable part of his career was his ability to help others. “It’s always rewarding to run into people who say I gave them their first car loan years ago, for instance,” he said. “It’s exciting to help people and see them become successful.”
Bechman is succeeded by David Bedwell who joined Horizon from BMO Harris Bank as regional retail manager in 2013. His experience in commercial and retail banking will bolster those areas of lending in Johnson County. Bedwell is a graduate of Franklin College and the Indiana Bankers Association Commercial Lending School. He also is a board member for Franklin Development Corporation.
“I am confident that David will do an excellent job leading our Johnson County team and maintaining the excellence in customer service standards Steve Bechman supported,” said Bill Denton, Horizon Bank regional president of Central Indiana.