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‘This is why we’re here’: How Fifth Third leveraged its 160 years to be ‘essential’ during the pandemic

  • Without a playbook, the pandemic challenged banks of all sizes to respond.
  • Fifth Third found its way by plugging itself into its role as a indispensable community institution.
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‘This is why we’re here’: How Fifth Third leveraged its 160 years to be ‘essential’ during the pandemic

When COVID-19 first hit, every financial firm had to create its own playbook for how to manage the crisis.

Even firms, like Fifth Third Bank, that have been around since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, needed to huddle on a new plan. But while the pandemic was something new, Fifth Third has a history of rallying around customers.

“I guess there’s a fair bit of institutional muscle memory in the form of a resilient business model,” said Ben Hoffman, who heads up strategy and fintech at Fifth Third, at Tearsheet’s recent Resilience Conference. “All the hard work that you do during the good times makes sure that your balance sheet, your customer base, and your business is prepared for the type of environment that we live in right now.”


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