Financial institutions using their resources to strengthen their communities is the kind of longevity that matters, says Paul Marsh, president and CEO of Teacher's Credit Union, also based in South Bend.
"Financial institutions like TCU and 1st Source have great responsibility to the community to not only provide financial stability, but to also give back and bolster the success of the community as a whole because all boats rise in high tide," he says.
This was noticeable in 1963 when the Studebaker plant closed and left 7,000 men and women unemployed. 1st Source's loan department deferred many of the employees' payments and made loans to others.
This type of situation is why, when it comes to business, Jeff Rea, president and CEO of St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, says: "We like to have the headquarters and decision-makers here."
Often, he explains, economic challenges happen when a company makes decisions about local growth and operations somewhere else.
"I would be hard pressed to come up with a list of businesses that have been in the community that long. It's a real testament to 1st Source's roots and their investment in the community."
Because of its early connection with Associates, the bank had valuable knowledge of commercial finance. It used that knowledge to build a set of financial businesses across the country.
1st Source Corp., the bank's parent company, has 22 special finance businesses across the U.S., says Murphy, who also serves as chairman, president and CEO of the corporation.
"Those have allowed us to balance the business so that we are not reliant on any one geography or any one particular type of business."
The company is involved in lending and leasing in markets as diverse as heavy trucking, funeral cars, shuttle buses, personal and business aircraft, construction machinery and environmental equipment.
On the banking side, the company opened its first branch in 1935, with more branches following in the 1950s, but the bank was restricted geographically to St. Joseph County.
"In the early days, you weren't allowed to branch outside the county in which your home office was located," Murphy says. "And even then you were not allowed to branch into a town or township in which the home office of another bank was located."
The laws eventually changed, but Indiana and Illinois were two of the last states to adopt new rules, which is why there are no really large banks headquartered in the region. That fact has allowed 1st Source to thrive.
Today, 1st Source will occasionally make an acquisition, but it prefers to grow one client at a time. Its "stock and trade" is locally owned and controlled businesses.
"Small businesses are critical to us," Murphy says. "That's where your innovation comes from, where your growth comes from, where the majority of your employment comes from."
Today, 1st Source, which has about $4.6 billion in assets, focuses on giving its clients "straight talk and sound advice," Murphy says. "And keeping their best interests in mind for the long term."
It serves all types of clients from businesses such as Data Realty and BioMet, to individual homeowners and farmers.
"I think the main thing people enjoy about the bank is that we started here and we're staying here," says Ernestine M. Raclin, E.M. Morris' youngest daughter and former chairman of the bank.
"They like the size and the fact that we know the customers and they know us," she says. "In this day and age, when everything is so impersonal, that's wonderful."
With the onset of technology, Raclin has seen many changes in the way the bank does business, from an increase in the number of times a week people do transactions to the massive amount of regulation and the need for greater security.
Raclin took over as chairman of the bank when her husband, Michael Carmichael, died in 1976. She soon called Murphy -- her son-in-law was at one of the largest banks in the nation -- and asked him to come help run the bank.
Together, they oversaw a brand change in the 1980s, when the bank finally became known as 1st Source Bank.
"We would ask customers what our real name was before and they couldn't tell you," Raclin says, explaining that people constantly confused First Bank and FBT Bancorp -- the name the bank had before 1st Source -- with other "First" banks.
"We really wanted to be the source of all your financial needs," Murphy says, explaining that 1st Source is committed to South Bend and the Michiana region and that its intention is to remain independent.
To that end, the bank has a very detailed succession planning process at all levels and is continually training and developing employees, even sending them to Harvard and the University of Michigan.