David Leininger

David Leininger - Relationship Manager III

David Leininger-Relationship Manager III photo

From an early age, we teach our children to share what they have with others. It’s a valuable lesson we hope they internalize and carry with them into adulthood – and it’s a lesson that David Leininger, Relationship Manager III with First Merchants Bank, took to heart.

“Growing up, my family was very philanthropic,” he recalled. “My mom especially was involved in a lot of community organizations and served on a lot of boards, and I found that really inspiring. I knew from a young age that we were fortunate, and that it was important to use that good fortune to help others.” 

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, David has worked to better his community since the start of his professional career but said some of his recent community involvement began as an exploration of what it meant to be a leader. 

“I was involved in a local leadership training program and started an internship on the board of an organization called the Community Transportation Network (CTN), which helps provide a measure of independence to seniors, those with disabilities, and those from lower- and middle-income communities,” he said. “I just fell in love with their mission. It’s an awesome organization and I realized the need in this area is extraordinary.”

David became an official board member three years ago and was elected chair in 2021. But he doesn’t limit his involvement to the boardroom. David loves to have “boots on the ground” and often joins clients on their rides, asking them about their lives, their needs, and how CTN can better serve them. 

“I always find a ton of joy in being able to meet the clientele we serve,” David said. “Riding along with them, getting to hear their stories – we’re meeting a real need, and in many cases providing independence that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.” 

As he enters his second year heading CTN’s board, David said he’s excited to see what the future will bring. 

“In recent years CTN has had explosive growth and we’ve found new, unique ways to serve the community,” David shared. “I hope the organization has gotten a fraction of the good out of me that I’ve received from this experience.” 

David also serves on the board for the United Way of Allen County, and on the Committee for the Turnstone Center in Fort Wayne. And, by doing so, he’s teaching his two young children – Abel and Bailey – the same lesson he learned from his mother. 

“Growing up I saw how fortunate my family is, and continues to be, and had the opportunity to serve those who don’t have that same good fortune,” he said. “And it’s amazing to see the impact that lesson is having on my own family and my kids – that we shouldn’t just be thankful for our blessings, but that we should seek to share them with others.”  

It’s also a lesson he shares with young professionals in the workplace. 

“I always encourage especially younger folks to get involved, because I think we have a responsibility as an individual, as a bank, to give back to the communities we serve,” David explained. “It’s something I believe each individual will find a ton of value in, and it is a fantastic way to meet and get to know the people in your community and find out how you can better serve them.”

And, David knows he’s fortunate in one other way – his employer.

“I so appreciate the commitment that First Merchants Bank makes in each of its communities,” he said. “I’m incredibly passionate about Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas, and I genuinely appreciate that giving back to our communities is woven into the bank’s culture—I wouldn’t want to work somewhere it wasn’t. I’m grateful to work somewhere that encourages its employees to get involved in every way.” 


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.”