First Merchants Announces Key Promotions to Executive Vice President

First Merchants headquarters in downtown Muncie. Photo by Mike Rhodes
First Merchants headquarters in downtown Muncie. Photo by Mike Rhodes

By Jaime Faulkner—

MUNCIE, IN—First Merchants Bank (Nasdaq: FRME), a high-performing and attentive bank in the Midwest, has announced the promotions of three tenured executives to Executive Vice President (EVP). These promotions recognize Carrie Valek, Steve Harris, and Joe Peterson’s outstanding contributions and commitment to driving the company’s continued success.

From left to right: Carrie Valek, Steve Harris and Joe Peterson.
  • Carrie Valek has been promoted to EVP, President of Consumer Valek joined First Merchants in 2012 and has nearly twenty-five years of banking experience with 12 years at First Merchants as a senior leader. She oversees the 116 banking center network and retail operations in this role. Valek has a proven track record of success in driving an attentive helping you prosper service model across the four-state footprint.
  • Steve Harris will now serve as EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer. In this elevated role, Harris will lead the company’s strategic Human Resources initiatives, which encompass talent acquisition and development as well as employee relations and engagement. Harris is a recognized leader known for his passion in building diverse and inclusive teams. He fosters a company culture where employees feel a strong sense of belonging and are empowered to reach their full potential.
  • Joe Peterson takes on the role of EVP, President of Commercial Banking.  In this newly created role, Peterson will spearhead the strategic and organic growth of the bank’s commercial division. Peterson brings over two decades of experience in commercial finance to First Merchants. Throughout his impressive career, he has demonstrably built and led successful teams in public finance, sponsor finance, debt capital markets, and asset-based lending sectors. Notably, Peterson has a proven track record of fostering strong client partnerships and cultivating attentive and proactive commercial bankers who deliver exceptional service.

“We are thrilled to announce the well-deserved promotions of Carrie Valek, Steve Harris, and Joe Peterson to EVP,”said Mike Stewart, President of First Merchants Bank. “Each of them has played a pivotal role in our company’s growth and success, and we are confident they will continue to make significant contributions in their new leadership positions.”


About First Merchants Corporation

With $18.3 billion in assets, First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ: FRME) is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of commercial and consumer banking services and wealth management services through First Merchants Bank and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. With more than 130 years of enhancing the financial wellness of the diverse communities it serves, First Merchants makes meaningful contributions through Employee Empowerment, Philanthropy and Charitable Giving, Financial Wellness, Community Home and Business Lending, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The company has been honored for its attentive and knowledgeable service and culture by Forbes, Newsweek, American Banker, Comparably, and S&P Global Intelligence “Best Banks” awards. First Merchants Bank attributes this recognition to a mission-driven team that is passionate about “helping you prosper” through attentiveness as its genuine and unique approach to customer service. To see how First Merchants Bank is making a difference, go to