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Jennifer Hourigan

Jennifer Hourigan - VP Market Leader, Monroe North



What do teaching and banking have in common? More than you’d think, actually.

“Both involve lots of coaching and helping others develop – both take a lot of patience, empathy, and an ability to actively listen,” shared Jennifer Hourigan, Market Leader with First Merchants Bank.

And Jennifer would know – she had a career as an elementary school teacher before she joined the banking world.

“I studied finance in school and got a job in banking, but when I had kids, I wanted a job that was more on their schedule, so I left the bank and became a teacher,” she explained.

When her kids got older, Jennifer returned to banking – but she never lost her passion for education, or for helping others grow.

In addition to working with three Chambers of Commerce across First Merchants’ northern region, Jennifer also serves as Treasurer on a local charter school’s Board of Education.

“It’s not a school my kids ever attended, but it is in my community. When they had an opening on the board, I knew I had to go for it,” she shared. “I love being able to help steer curriculum, to have a say in how the school is run, and to help the children that attend there really grow.”

But Jennifer also does all she can to help her First Merchants’ team members grow, and to help them discover new passions. As part of her Market Leader role, Jennifer organizes regular, quarterly volunteer events for team members in her region.

“I really try and get the whole team involved,” she shared. “I have such a passion for giving back and I want them to share that passion.”


Whether that’s participating in a river clean-up, building a home with Habitat for Humanity, or organizing donations at the local Salvation Army, Jennifer works to help her team members give back in ways that are personal and meaningful.

“I always tell them, ‘Just tell me what you want to do, and then I’ll arrange it,’” she said. “I really want them to take the lead and to choose volunteer activities that are meaningful to them. It gives them a chance to explore different ways of giving back, and to throw themselves into it with their whole heart.”

“Go out and do a bunch of things – try a variety of things and see where your passion leads you,” she said. “Don’t volunteer just because you feel obligated. See what strikes your passion, and, once you find it, run with it.”



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 through 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.”