During the summer, area residents watched as a new building rose at the site Mercy Hospital had occupied for nearly a century. Tuesday morning, the new Fifth Third Bank had its grand opening festivities at 513 W. Market St.
Bob LaClair, president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio), welcomed guests.
He said Fifth Third, based in Cincinnati, has 15 affiliate groups that utilize a community bank model. Fifth Third has 49 offices in northwest Ohio."This is a great opportunity for us to upgrade our facilities," LaClair said. "This facility is going to take the place of our two offices, one in downtown and one on West Market Street. It really does give us the opportunity to bring in the latest and greatest technology. Both the facilities we were in were outdated, and we really had a tough time staying in touch with customer needs."
Kathy Jumper, who oversees the northwest Ohio offices, credited Eric Willman, manager of the Tiffin financial center, and his employees for getting the 4,300-square-foot office open on time.
"We have a tradition at Fifth Third Bank, when we open a new office. We take that traditional ribbon that you cut and attach money to it - $250. So at the end of the ribbon cutting, we're going to present $250 to United Way," Jumper said.
Willman, a 1997 Columbian High School graduate, had lived out of the area for a few years but returned to manage the new Tiffin office.
He graduated from University of Dayton in 2001.
"I started in June, after they'd already broken ground," Willman said. "It's been a lot of work consolidating the two offices. Over the last two months, it really got intense in preparation. The last two Fridays were long nights, but well worth it. We brought the computers with us. Everything else is new."
What has remained unchanged is the staff.
Willman said he made it a priority to keep the employees who were familiar to the customers.
"All the same faces will be here to help them," Willman said.