New York, San Francisco, and Charlotte may be home to some of the nation's biggest banking companies.

But Cincinnati can boast that it is the capital lean banking. Three of the six most efficient U.S. bank holding companies are based in the Ohio city: Fifth Third Bancorp, Star Banc Corp., and Provident Bancorp.

This top performance can be credited to committed managements as well as to the Buckeye State's robust economy.

Fifth Third, a famously lean organization, has long ranked among the top five in efficiency. Star Banc has also emerged as a stellar player since a major reengineering two years ago. And Provident can boast the greatest recent improvement in efficiency. Its noninterest expense per dollar of revenue plummeted from 54.82% to 46.36%.

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