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Business & Professional

William & Marjorie Zahn Family


First Federal Savings Bank can trace its corporate lineage back more than a century. But the First Federal we know today began 62 years ago, when William Zahn, the operator of a family dry-cleaning business, joined the board of directors of People’s Savings and Loan.

That board appointment led, in short order, to Zahn’s becoming the bank’s vice president. In 1963, was named its president. Three years later, the institution’s name was changed to First Federal Savings and Loan. It is now First Federal Savings Bank.

When William Zahn joined People’s Savings and Loan, it was owned by brothers Earl and Roy Bucher, who also operated an insurance agency inside the facility. William Zahn also bought that business, establishing Bucher & Zahn Insurance Agency in the mid-1960s.

William Zahn left First Federal in 1990 to enjoy retirement with his wife, Marjorie. But their legacy of family leadership has continued.

Their son, Stephen E. Zahn, joined the bank in 1964 after graduating from Marquette University and returning to his native Huntington to marry his Huntington Catholic High School sweetheart, Alyce Kastner. He initially divided his time between the insurance agency and the bank before becoming the bank’s president and chief executive officer when his father relinquished those day-to-day duties in 1980. In 1991, Stephen Zahn was elected chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

During his time as president, First Federal changed from a mutual charter institution to stock savings bank. It remains today the only publicly traded business headquartered in Huntington.

The third generation of Zahn family leadership arrived at First Federal when Stephen Zahn’s son Michael joined the business in 1996, after graduating from Indiana University. Michael Zahn began his financial services career in the Cincinnati area, where he met and married Susan Corbett. He was appointed to the bank’s board of directors in 2000 and four years later earned an MBA from Notre Dame University. In 2005, he succeeded his father as president and in 2011 became the bank’s CEO when his father stepped aside to concentrate on his duties as board chair. 

Over nearly six decades of Zahn family stewardship, First Federal has become synonymous with opportunity for thousands of local families taking important steps into home ownership and business entrepreneurship. The institution has broadened its reach by establishing two branches in Fort Wayne and a facility in Warsaw. In the mid-1990s, First Federal expanded in Huntington, building new offices on the city’s south and north sides to complement its main office downtown. An investment service now shares space in what is now the bank’s facility on Frontage Road.

An important part of the Zahn family tradition is the important leadership roles many of its members have taken in community affairs as well as in the financial industry. Their service on an array of boards and committees has brought them individual recognition as well.  Stephen Zahn received Huntington College’s Distinguished Citizen Award in 2004 and the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce has honored the bank with its R.M. Hafner Business Citizen of the Year Award. Stephen and Michael Zahn are the first father and son to each have been recognized by the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce as Chiefs of the Flint Springs Tribe.

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