Fifth Third Bank has pledged to build more than 100 branch locations in the Southeast, with 25% of those branches slated for majority-minority and low- to moderate-income communities. This branch is on Eastway Drive in Charlotte.

Fifth Third Bank will open a full-service banking center in Charlotte’s Historic West End, part of a larger commitment to the historically Black neighborhood, the company announced today.

The West End branch will be located at 2340 Beatties Ford Road and is expected to open in the summer of 2024.

Fifth Third also announced that McFarland Construction, a Black-owned company based in Charlotte, will be the project’s general contractor, working with other local minority-owned businesses under the bank’s supplier diversity program.

Why it matters: Fifth Third, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has emerged as one of the West End’s largest financial backers, pledging millions of dollars in small business loans, mortgages, investments and philanthropic support, including grants from the Fifth Third Foundation.

What we know:

  • Under its Empowering Black Futures program, Fifth Third announced in 2021 that it had pledged $180 million to “support and revitalize” nine majority-Black communities in seven states.
  • The West End branch will have a drive-thru and will feature the bank’s “Next Gen” design, a modern layout that is less formal than traditional banks.
  • Construction is expected to begin in late summer or early fall.
  • A building currently on the site will be razed.
Fifth Third Bank says it will build a full-service banking center on this site at 2340 Beatties Ford Road. The current building on the site will be razed. (Photo: QcityMetro)

As Fifth Third continues to move beyond its traditional Midwest footprint, it has pledged to add more than 100 branches across the Southeast. About 25% of its new branches will be built in majority-minority and low- to moderate-income communities, the Charlotte Business Journal reported in January.

Lee Fite, president of Fifth Third’s Carolinas region, called the Beatties Ford Road branch the “next step” in the bank’s “partnership” with the West End community.

“We want to be more than simply a corporate partner,” he said in a statement. “While we have made great progress building relationships with those who call the Historic West End home, we want to continue to learn from them how we can be a real friend to the community and play a vital role in serving others to improve lives.”

The bank’s West End initiatives have a i“West Side Urbanomics” series to help small business owners prepare financial statements. Other programs focused on increasing financial literacy and addressing food needs.

A focus on diverse suppliers

As Fifth Third planned for its West End branch, it hosted westside events with McFarland Construction to identify women-, veteran- and minority-owned companies to work on the project as subcontractors. More than 20 companies showed up. 

The bank has set a diverse participation goal of 30% on construction projects for banks and office space. Last year’s rate exceeded 60%, said Gloria Samuel who is responsible for project management of construction activity across Fifth Third Bank’s footprint.

Samuel said the bank has been intentional about building a network of diverse suppliers.

“We all know this industry is really tied to relationships,” she told QCity Metro in a recent interview, “and so the focus for us has been to not just focus on the relationships we have today, but building new relationships and building new partnerships.”

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

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