Edwards retires as Horizon president, more changes coming

Thomas H. Edwards’ departure as CEO is the latest in a series of personnel changes for the Indiana bank, along with a flurry of other activity.

Thomas H. Edwards

Thomas H. Edwards, president and chief credit officer at Horizon Bank in Michigan City, Ind., announced that he will retire from the bank at the end of 2017.

He has served in these capacities since 2002, and was also executive vice president of the holding company, Horizon Bancorp, since 1999. He was primarily responsible for oversight of commercial credit underwriting, allowance for loan and lease loss reserves, treasury management and wealth and investment management.

“Mr. Edwards has provided leadership, guidance and inspiration throughout his years with Horizon, generously giving of his time and expertise to the company and the community,” said Craig M. Dwight, chairman and CEO of Horizon Bancorp. “As president and chief credit officer, he presided over a period of unprecedented growth and successfully guided Horizon through the great recession. We wish to thank Mr. Edwards for his years of service and to wish him the best in his retirement years.”

The bank will begin transitioning these roles to Dennis Kuhn over the next six months. Kuhn joined the bank in 2010 and has a similar credit philosophy to Edwards.

Steve Bechman, Johnson County market president for the bank, retired in April, and Dave Rose, bank market president for Porter County, retired this month. This means at least three key roles at Horizon Bank have changed hands this year.

In addition, Horizon Bank recently changed from a national charter to a state-chartered institution and dropped the N.A. from its name. The bank said the change better aligned its interests with the states in which it does business and lowered its costs before tax by about $432,000 annually. It also expects to see efficiencies in the bank examination process.

The bank also has seen a lot of changes in its growth, both organically and by acquisition in the last few months.

The bank recently signed a merger agreement with Wolverine Bancorp in Midland, Mich., and is expecting to close that transaction in late third or early fourth quarter. Wolverine Bank, the subsidiary savings bank with $379 million in assets, has three full-service offices and an emphasis in the metro Detroit, greater Lansing and Grand Rapids regions. “We are enthusiastic about this merger, as it allows Horizon to extend our reach into Michigan while remaining true to our values as we partner with this like-minded institution,” said Dwight.

The expansion also complements Horizon’s locations in East Lansing and its most recent full-service office opening in Grand Rapids, Mich.  “We believe that establishing a significant presence in these larger markets and regions of Michigan will provide Horizon with substantial growth opportunities, a key component to our future success,” he said. Horizon expects to create a local advisory board for the region once the transaction is complete.

Meanwhile, Horizon also is working on its acquisition of Lafayette Community Bancorp and its subsidiary Lafayette Community Bank through a stock and cash merger. Lafayette was established in 2000 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Ind. It has four full-service branches and assets of $172 million.

“We continue to believe increasing our presence in the Lafayette area will provide Horizon with growth opportunities and the ability to retain and attract seasoned bankers, which are key components to our future success,” Dwight said. “Horizon is delighted to gain such a talented and seasoned banking team.”

Lafayette CEO Bradley Marley will join Horizon leading the former Lafayette branches along with SVP/Chief Credit Officer Steve Hickman and SVP/Chief Operating Officer Dick Murray.

That transaction also is expected to close in the third quarter 2017.

Meanwhile, the bank opened a loan production office in Dublin, Ohio, in May, overseen by Michael Lamping, market president of central Ohio. Lamping, a long-time Dublin banker and former community bank president, is also charged “with looking for banks in Ohio to partner with Horizon going forward,” Dwight said.