CLEVELAND - Fifth Third Bancorp, which earlier this year expressed interest in acquiring Cincinnati rival Star Banc Corp., is no longer interested, Fifth Third's chief executive officer reiterated last week.
"That is really kind of a thing of the past, and I don't see anything happening there for years," president and CEO George Schaefer said at a McDonald & Co. investment conference.
Mr. Schaefer said his $9.5 billion-asset holding company remains interested in in-market acquisitions and expects to purchase thrifts to fill gaps in its markets.
Noting that Fifth Third recently closed on the purchase of a savings and loan in Middletown, Ohio, and a mutual thrift in Lima, Ohio, Mr. Schaefer said, "You'll continue to see us do those kinds of transactions."
Strong Earnings Hinted
After his presentation, he declined to comment specifically on analysts' estimates that Fifth Third's 1992 net income per share will be about $2.70, against $2.33 last year. But he said in an interview, "If you look at our historic earnings, we will continue on that same line." He referred to Fifth Third's consistent record of increasing earnings by more than 12% a year.
Mr. Schaefer said reasons for Fifth Third's strong performance include the economic health of its midwestern territory - the company actually is looking for employees in the Cincinnati area - as well as its strong sales culture, tight control of overhead, and diversified revenue stream.
Fee income accounts for about one-third of revenues, and Fifth Third's businesses include a large data processing unit that offers transaction processing services to financial institutions, teller-machine networks, and retailers.