With approximately 1,100 financial centers already in business nationwide, an Ohio-based bank plans to expand further in the Southeast.
Fifth Third Bank currently has four locations in Greenville and expects to open four additional locations by the end of the year, with two branches anticipated to open in Charleston this year as well.
Tommy Lloyd, Fifth Third Bank regional retail executive, said the bank plans to have an up to 12 financial centers in the Upstate and 10 or more in the Lowcountry by 2025.
Founded in 1858 as the Bank of the Ohio Valley, the company opened in Cincinnati. Fifth Third Bank is now worth nearly $24 billion. Currently headquartered in Cincinnati, Fifth Third is one of the largest consumer banks in the Midwest.
“We are always surprised by how well the community embraces us,” said Lee Fite, Fifth Third Bank president, Carolinas region. “Every one of these additions do better than the last opening in Greenville and Charleston, which keeps us wanting to invest more in South Carolina and to continue doing business here. Expanding in this state is not anything new for us, but what is newer is having a more robust and long-term branch expansion plan.”
Fifth Third’s model is based on convenience for customers, having a comfortable, community friendly environment, great technology and products, and affordable rates, said Lloyd.
“It’s a combination of things like this that create interest and lifelong customers,” he added. “Our competitive advantage is being customer centric. Identifying challenges, goals and how can we help you through your lifelong journey. Whether its retirement, buying a home, auto loan, saving for your child’s college, we are skilled at giving advice you need to be successful on your financial journey.”
Three out of the four Greenville branches have been built from the ground up with the same “next gen” look, and they really try to make each design fit with the locale, said Lloyd.
This next gen branch features:
• Mobile bankers using technology that allows them to meet and serve customers in a variety of settings. Rather than having teller “windows,” the new space gives employees the freedom to move around the lobby. Tablet computers encourage a more direct and personal way of serving customers.
• A tech wall with a dynamic digital screen.
• Flexible meeting and seating areas, with layers of privacy that can adjust depending on the need and the type of conversation taking place.
“We are really proud of these new next gen designs,” said Lloyd. “The design of these offices is really based on feedback customers have given us when we started going down the path of new offices. You will not feel like you are walking in a bank. Our mantra and culture are built around keeping customers at the center of everything we do, and we have been told they really feel the difference when they walk into one of our branches.”
Lloyd and Fite said they have been asked by many why they are adding more branches while other banks continue to consolidate, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
And that’s because the bank wants customers to have a physical place to walk into where they can have a team member assist with any financial needs and concerns.
“The success we are having in the Upstate and Lowcountry is so nice to see,” Lloyd said.