Fifth Third Expands in Greenville...But branch banking is still a ways off
By David Dykes
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank is expanding in Greenville, but don’t expect to see its branches dot local street corners any time soon.
Building on the success of a seasoned commercial banking team in the Carolinas, Fifth Third has named a new wealth management advisory team in Greenville that includes private bankers James Jones, Todd Ripley, Gency Kirk, and Richard Crumpler. Each will help the bank expand services across the Southeast, specifically supporting South Carolina-based high-net worth and ultra-high net worth clients.
But branch banking is a ways off, as Fifth Third continues to assess an Upstate region whose bank deposits are dominated by Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and BB&T.
“We’re working through our strategy on how best to approach expansion in our Southeast markets,” Greg D. Carmichael, Fifth Third Bancorp’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said in a recent interview at the company’s offices on South Main Street in Greenville.
In a regulatory filing last year, Fifth Third officials said that over the next two to three years the company plans to close 100 to 125 branches “in more mature markets” and open a similar number in higher-growth markets where it has existing retail branches. That means branch growth could come in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Asheville, Nashville, Atlanta, and parts of Florida.
“But also, I think there’s an opportunity down the road to think about this Upstate market from a depository perspective,” Carmichael said. “And we’re assessing what that would be and what would be the right approach to enter the market if we decide to do that.”
He wouldn’t disclose the approaches being considered or the timetable for a decision in the Upstate. For now, he said, Fifth Third will would continue to focus locally on its middle-market business, which targets companies with $500 million or less in revenue.
“In order to best serve those commercial customers, we really need a wealth arm to serve both their corporate needs and their personal needs, and our wealth business can do that,” he said. “Whether that leads to retail and so forth down the road remains to be seen for us here in this market.”
Deposits in Fifth Third’s Southeast markets have grown 5.7 percent year-over-year, or significantly more than the company’s legacy markets, Carmichael said. Since 2002, the bank has acquired banks in Tennessee, Florida, and North Carolina.
As of December 31, the bank holding company had $146 billion in assets, approximately 18,500 employees, and 1,121 retail banking centers in 10 states, including Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina, but not South Carolina.
Fifth Third Bank is the principal subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp. Its four main businesses are commercial banking, branch banking, consumer lending, and wealth and asset management.
Fifth Third planted its flag in Greenville seven years ago with the opening of its commercial loan production office led by Charlie Arndt. He is well-known among area sports fans as a player who fashioned one of the finest careers of any goalkeeper in South Carolina Gamecock soccer history.
With the addition of the four-member wealth management advisory team, Fifth Third will have 10 employees based in Greenville. The company has more than 700 employees in the Carolinas.
Carmichael was named president in September 2012 and was appointed to the board of directors in July 2015. He became CEO in November 2015 and was elected chairman in January 2018.
Before joining Fifth Third, Carmichael was vice president and chief information officer for Emerson Electric, a worldwide provider of technology and energy solutions. From 1985 to 1996, he worked in several information technology and leadership assignments at General Electric.
At Fifth Third, he is credited with technological innovation, stronger analytics, and more centralized, consistent operations. In its fourth-quarter 2018 results, the company reported record corporate banking revenue and record middle-market and corporate loan originations.
Meet the New Team:
Fifth Third Bank has a new wealth management advisory team in Greenville. The team includes James Jones, Todd Ripley, Gency Kirk, and Richard Crumpler.
Jones comes to Fifth Third as a wealth management advisor and is responsible for planning and expertise in investment management, trust, and private banking in South Carolina. Jones has nearly 30 years of experience guiding clients through the complexities of managing family wealth. Jones is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and earned an MBA from the University of South Carolina.
Ripley is senior portfolio manager, responsible for growing the bank’s wealth, philanthropic, and institutional asset management portfolios in South Carolina and Western North Carolina. With 29 years of financial services experience, Ripley is a graduate of Mercer University, American Banking Association (ABA), and National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University. He also earned a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation.
Kirk joins Fifth Third as senior trust officer and is a relationship manager and fiduciary advisor for trust administration and estate planning. A graduate of Campbell University, Kirk holds a bachelor’s degree in Trust and Investment Management and an MBA. She is a Certified Financial Planner and has worked with clients in a fiduciary capacity for more than 10 years.
Crumpler has joined the Fifth Third team as a private banker. Crumpler is responsible for relationship management and advising on depository and lending solutions in the South Carolina market. Crumpler has 10 years of financial services experience and is a graduate of The Citadel.
The new team joins forces with commercial bank leader Charlie Arndt, who heads a team that includes commercial relationship managers David Hammett and Matt Gearhart, commercial portfolio manager Steven Neidringhaus, treasury services officer Angie Long, and commercial client advisor Regan McClain.