Steinour discusses Huntington Bank's strategic initiatives
A week after Huntington Bank announced its $25 million gift and a commitment of $100 million in investment and lending to The Ohio State University in an exclusive 15-year partnership, Steve Steinour, the bank’s chairman, president and CEO, explained to Fisher students why the deal made good business sense.
“We are trying to position ourselves to have access to extraordinary affinity groups,” Steinour said. “The breadth and reach of OSU is tremendous—30,000 professors, docs, admins; 600,000 alums and 50,000 plus students every year.” The partnership will allow Columbus-based Huntington to build new branches on campus and market checking accounts to Ohio State employees.
Sponsored by the Specialized Master in Finance program, Steinour’s Feb. 10 lecture was part of the Applied Finance Seminar, which presents executives explaining the practice behind finance theory. The seminar was established in honor of Eric Wruck, who died in 2011. Wruck, a Fisher senior lecturer, helped develop the specialized master in finance program.
In addition to talking about the new partnership with Ohio State, Steinour discussed how banks are still recovering from the 2007 industry collapse. He focused on how Huntington is transforming as a bank in comparison with the rest of the industry.
Huntington is staying focused on growth in the Midwest at a time when other banks are merging and expanding nationally. While some banks are reducing lending to increase liquidity, Steinour said Huntington is trying to find innovative ways to help consumers. The bank is exploring new market opportunities, such as consumers reliant on pay-day loan operations and prepaid credit and debit cards.
The bank also struck a business partnership with the Pittsburgh-based grocery store chain Giant Eagle to open branches inside the stores.
“We would spend the same amount of capital opening eight supermarket branches as would cost us to open one traditional branch,” Steinour said. He used the Giant Eagle partnership as an example of how two different types of businesses—such as a bank and a university—can support the other.
“It’s about helping each other to succeed and grow over time,” Steinour said. “The $25 million to Ohio State was a down payment, which the university will use for scholarship and educational programs. The economics of the program is much more significant to OSU. Our growth and our success developing relationships with each of the pockets of opportunity—the students, the alums, faculty and admins –is a great flow around an affinity, a great community called OSU.”