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Bianca Mirisola

Bianca Mirisola - Commercial Administration Manager



Bianca Mirisola, Commercial Administration Manager with First Merchants Bank, has seen how financial education can change a life.

“We have a family friend who came from a low-income background who was told by a high school guidance counselor that she should become a manager at a McDonalds,” Bianca shared. “Luckily, someone was able to talk to her about the opportunities available to her if she got a degree.”

The friend went on to go to college, graduate, and become a teacher.

“But when she went to buy a house, the bank said they couldn’t help her unless she had 20 percent saved,” Bianca said. “Then she met someone who walked her through different programs and explained how her credit history could benefit her. She’s now a proud homeowner, but it started because people took the time to help her understand – even as far back as high school.”

Bianca recently overheard her friend talking to a neighbor on the phone and coaching him through finances and budgeting.

“She’s become someone in her community that was helping others the same way she was helped,” Bianca explained.

Stories like these give Bianca her passion for financial wellness education within communities.

“It’s something many people don’t learn in school,” Bianca shared. “So many people learn the hard way – they don’t know how to create a budget, they don’t understand credit, and they don’t realize the consequences their actions will have.”

Over the years, Bianca has volunteered her time teaching practical finance management to students studying for their GED, church groups, survivors of domestic violence at local shelters, and high school students. It’s vital work.

“People need to know the rules of the game, and they might not even realize they’re playing,” she explained. “People need to know how credit works, how budgeting works, and how to have good financial success. Because good financial decisions snowball in a good way, and bad financial decisions snowball in a bad way.”

And sometimes, people try to make good financial choices, but don’t have the knowledge they need to realize that a seemingly positive action can have negative consequences.

“I had a client once who was trying to be responsible and asked his credit card company to lower his credit limit,” Bianca shared. “He didn’t know that if you lower your limit, you’re using more of your available balance, which lowers your credit score.”

For Bianca, the key to improving a life is through education.

“No one is born knowing these things. We have to be taught them – and some people don’t come from a middle-class background or didn’t have these programs offered in schools, so they weren’t able to learn,” she explained.

It’s also why Bianca – and First Merchants – focus on treating customers as the individuals they are.

“I don’t think banks should be preachy – ‘You need to do this,’ ‘You need to sign up for this program,’” she said. “Because we don’t always understand someone’s situation. I always give my clients the facts, the rules of the game, and some ideas for what they can do – but it’s their choice. Because it’s easy to say, ‘You have to save more,’ but sometimes people are in a situation where there’s not a penny left. But even in that situation, you can still build habits that can help your situation – it’s my job to educate people so they can build those habits.”

“That’s something I believe we can do socially to bridge the gap with people who don’t come from privilege – because they don’t have the information, but if they do, they can make a difference,” she added.

While Bianca has had to dial back her volunteering recently, she’s excited to pick it up as she continues to educate her community to help them prosper.


First Merchants Bank’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility compels us to invest in our communities by finding ways to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of our neighborhoods, and promote positive economic mobility though our five community pillars: Employee Empowerment; Community Investments and Charitable Giving; Financial Wellness; Community Home Lending; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This series features First Merchants teammates who embody the spirit and impact of the company’s Vision: “to enhance the financial wellness of the diverse communities we serve.”