Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read September 2021 — In an interview with Focus: Atlanta Randy Koporc, regional president of Fifth Third Bank in Georgia, explained how the bank has been supporting clients through the pandemic and the growing usage of digital banking. Additionally, he discussed the bank’s future plans for growth and the market in the South.
What does small business support look like a year into the pandemic?
Fifth Third has been committed now more than ever during the pandemic to offer best-in-class services and equip small business owners with the resources they need, including funding.
We provided approximately $120 million in PPP loans here in Georgia and close to $5.3 billion throughout our Bank, with a majority of it going toward small businesses.
In addition to PPP loans, Fifth Third made a $8.75 million philanthropic commitment to help address the effects of the pandemic. The funds from the Fifth Third Foundation have been deployed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the communities served by Fifth Third Bank – which also include small business support.
We’re very proud of how much capital we were able to put into the hands of small-business owners so that they could continue moving forward.
What functionalities of Fifth Third or the banking sector as a whole need to be offered digitally to stay relevant and competitive?
We all know that consumer digital adaptation continues to increase annually and has been more prevalent than ever since the start of the pandemic. Despite this fact, customers are telling us that even though they desire to make everyday transactions on their digital devices, when it comes to making important financial decisions – they prefer in-person guidance.
This is why we are welcoming next gen financial centers throughout our footprint including Georgia, which is an entirely different banking experience from the traditional center. The financial center design features an open environment equipped with the latest technology to deliver the best customer service and advice to clients.
We just launched a product called Momentum Banking. We have an early pay feature that will allow you to have access to your money two days before payday. There are advances customers can take and overdraft consideration forgiveness along with other tools.
On the commercial side, what we’re seeing is that there is still a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the digitalization of commercial payments and operations for clients. It’s accelerating a lot more now in response to the pandemic and forcing a lot of people to analyze how they are managing those processes – especially accounts payable and accounts receivables – which is a unique capability for Fifth Third.
What has digitalization meant for banks in regard to cyber security and risk management strategies?
We keep our customer at the center of everything we do and work to deliver a world-class customer experience. When it comes to security and privacy, our customers expect us to protect their financial and information assets and need to know they can trust us to do just that.
As the cyber threat landscape continues to mature, it is our responsibility to stay ahead of the threats and continue to put in place the processes, procedures, tools and technologies needed to mitigate the risks associated with these threats.
I can tell you that the Bank has established a strong foundation of governance, policies and procedures based on a tight alignment with regulatory requirements and standard frameworks such as National Institute of Standards and Technology and Control Objectives for Information Technologies.
Which lines of business is Fifth Third looking to expand in the local market?
When we look at our franchise, the strongest demographics for growth are in the Southeast, which includes Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Florida. We are undergoing a Southeast expansion and looking to hire upward of 30 more seasoned commercial bankers as part of that growth. We’re also seeing expansion in our wealth and asset management business and foresee that area continuing to grow.
In addition, our retail expansion will continue and will continue to open new financial centers and increase our share in the region.
What does recruitment and talent development look like in today’s market?
We believe our employees are our greatest asset.
Many may not know this, but banking is considered an essential business so during the pandemic, we remained open and our employees came to work. We led with empathy and worked with our frontline workers to meet them where they were. There were challenges but we got through them.
We also worked to provide more digital professional development opportunities.
In today’s market, we understand that employees’ priorities may have changed and compensation is not the only thing top of mind for them. Many professionals are requiring flexibility and company resources to help with other areas of their lives.
As we execute our commercial middle market expansion plan and hire several bankers in the Southeast region, we are being intentional about meeting with candidates, learning what their needs are of us upfront and determining if we can meet them. We want it to be a mutually beneficial relationship for the both of us.
How do you see the next 18 to 24 months playing out for the local market?
I’m very optimistic about what is coming for Fifth Third Bank Georgia and for the state. The region has experienced an economic rebound following the start of the pandemic. There are many opportunities for businesses to get the resources they need and we are eager to help more Georgia companies meet their financial goals.
We look forward to continuing the growth of our middle market commercial team and advancing our share in the market.
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