Magazine article American Banker

Fifth Third Plants Flag in Detroit Area

Magazine article American Banker

Fifth Third Plants Flag in Detroit Area

Article excerpt

Old Kent Bank customers in the Detroit area woke up Monday to discover that they were Fifth Third Bank customers -- and Fifth Third Bancorp says that is just the beginning.

The Cincinnati company says it plans expanded services and more branches for the area, where the conversion of Old Kent's 74 branches was completed this weekend.

Fifth Third gained 210,000 customers in Detroit from April's $4.6 billion acquisition of Old Kent, which was based in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Two new Detroit-area branches are to be opened in September, with more to come later on.

To help launch several new services in the area-- international banking, equipment leasing, and merchant card processing, among others -- Fifth Third added 100 employees there for back-office operations. The company now employs 850 workers in Michigan.

"The integration came away flawlessly," said Patrick Fehring, the president of Fifth Third's eastern Michigan division. Mr. Fehring previously worked for Fifth Third in Ohio.

Fifth Third is following a "buy and build" strategy for Detroit, he said. The company now holds a 3% market share, with $3 billion of assets and $2.6 billion of deposits.

Since coming to Michigan earlier this year, Mr. Fehring said, Fifth Third has opened more than 10,000 consumer checking accounts and made more than 2,500 new loans. "All signs now point to a long, rewarding relationship with the people of eastern Michigan," he said.

The only Old Kent branches still to be converted are those in the Grand Rapids, Mich. …

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