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First Merchants Bank records

Identifier: MSS-041

Scope and Contents

The collection contains records of First Merchants Bank under its earlier name, Merchants National Bank, and under the name First Merchants Bank. The collection contains annual reports for the Merchants National Bank of Muncie (1959, 1965-1980, 1984) and a history of the bank (1803-1978) written by Phillip F. Schooley, a long time employee. The architectural drawings series includes architectural drawings of Merchants National Bank from the Jackson and Mulberry location (1929). Includes a portrait of Steven Anderson (1989) and the Merchants National Bank Calf Club (1921).


  • 1929-1993

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Administrative History

First Merchants Bank was founded as Merchants National Bank on February 3, 1893. At that time, Muncie was enjoying the prosperity of a natural gas boom, which attracted many commercial and industrial enterprises to the city. Hardin Roads, a prominent local grocer, was named the bank’s first president and chairman of the board, positions he held until 1923.

In 1914, the bank moved from its original location at the corner of Main and Mulberry Streets to a new location at the corner of Jackson and Mulberry Streets. The new building, built for the sum of $45,000 was an impressive limestone structure with an elaborate marble interior. The building served as the Merchants National Bank headquarters for nearly sixty years. In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, the bank emerged as one of two survivors of a merger of Muncie’s “clearing house” banks (Merchants Trust and Savings Company was the other survivor). In 1946, the two banks were reorganized into separate institutions, with Merchant’s Trust later becoming American National Bank.

In 1951, Merchants National Bank opened the first branch bank in Delaware County at the corner of Madison and 14th Streets. In 1953, the bank acquired the Muncie Banking Company and opened up branches in Muncie Banking’s old facilities at 115 E. Charles Street in Eaton. Two years later, the bank launched a renovation and expansion program of its downtown offices, completing the project in 1956. In 1958, the bank opened a branch in the Southway Plaza. A year later, it opened another branch in the Village near Ball State. In 1968, Merchants National Bank became the first commercial bank in Delaware County to attain more than $100 million in assets. In 1972, the bank moved into its new five story headquarters building on E. Jackson Street. The bank changed its name to First Merchants Bank in 1991. In 1992, the bank's assets topped $500 million.

First Merchants Bank is currently a division of First Merchants Corporation, the largest financial holding company based in Central Indiana, with assets exceeding $5 billion. First Merchants Bank operates branches in Adams, Brown, Delaware, Fayette, Hamilton, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Jay, Johnson, Lake, Madison, Marion, Miami, Morgan, Porter, Randolph, Shelby, Union, Wabash, and Wayne counties in Indiana, Cook and DuPage Counties in Illinois, and Butler County in Ohio.


0.4 Cubic Feet (1 box, 1 oversized folder, 1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized in the following series:

Series 1: First Merchant's Bank records, 1959-1993

Series 2: First Merchant's Bank photographs, 1921-1989

Custodial History

The First Merchants Bank Records were received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Philip F. Schooley on 1979/05/07. Additions were received on 1980/4/17 and 1982/4.


No additions expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

Geelhoed, Bruce. A century of community banking : the story of Merchants National Bank and First Merchants Corporation, 1893-1993. Muncie, Indiana: First Merchants Bank, 1993 (Archives and Special Collections and General Collection HG2613.M85 G43 1993)

MSS.350: Stefan S. Anderson papers

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1991/04/17 by K. Dean. Finding aid created 1991/04/17 by K. Dean. Finding aid revised 2008/03 by Maren L. Read. EAD finding aid completed 2012/09/10 by Bethany Fiechter.

First Merchants Bank records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA