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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Huntington has its sights on Carolinas growth

Huntington Bancshares is joining JPMorgan Chase, US Bank, Fifth Third and other peers that have big expansion plans for North Carolina.

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington’s strategy follows the hiring of Heath Campbell, who had been Truist Financial’s West regional market president before departing this fall. He’s Huntington’s executive managing director for the Carolinas. It also follows the hiring of Brant Standridge, one of Truist’s highest-ranking executives, who joined Huntington as president of regional and consumer banking in April  2022.

The bank has hired several dozen staffers recently, including a half-dozen Truist business bankers in South Carolina, bank officials said.

Huntington wants to add five branches in Charlotte, the Triad and Triangle over the next two years, says Scott Kleinman, a senior executive vice president who heads commercial banking. They’re likely to be small boutique offices, unlike the traditional branches such as JPMorgan is adding in the region.

Huntington’s nearest retail branches are in West Virginia, with most of its offices spread from Ohio to Minnesota, where it acquired TCF Financial for $22 billion in 2021.

The bank has about 40 employees in its new downtown Charlotte office. In October, Huntington hired Charlotte native Marcy Hingst as its new general counsel. She had been a Bank of America executive.

Huntington isn’t a stranger to Charlotte or North Carolina, having already employed about 120 staffers in the region, mostly tied to its asset-based lending business. Kleinman says the bank has a credit and operating culture somewhat similar to BB&T, where Campbell  worked for more than 20 years. The Winston-Salem-based company merged in 2019 with Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks to create Truist, the ninth-largest U.S. bank.

Kleinman says Huntington believes it’s a good time to grow when various other banks are downsizing. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Truist, which together dominate the Charlotte banking market, have announced cost-cutting measures.

Huntington is the 26th largest U.S. bank with about $187 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Its shares have declined about 10% in the past year, compared with a 7% decline in the S&P Regional Banking ETF.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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