Fifth Third Bank (FITB) in Cincinnati has added three veteran bankers to head a new unit that will focus on lending to the energy industry.

The $117 billion-asset company said Monday that Richard Butler, Terry Rainosek and Alan Busby will direct a new team that specializes in lending to petroleum and natural gas producers, processors and distributors.

Butler joins Fifth Third as senior vice president in charge of energy lending after roughly 21 years at the Bank of Scotland, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group, where he managed lending to exploration and production companies. Rainosek, a petroleum engineer, joins the company as senior vice president and engineering manager from Lloyds Banking Group, where he headed lending to oil and gas companies for the bank's American arm.  Busby, who will serve as senior credit officer, joins Fifth Third after roughly 21 years of lending to energy companies on behalf of a bank in the United Kingdom, according to Fifth Third, which declined to confirm the executives' prior employers.

"Fifth Third's new Energy Banking team demonstrates our commitment to providing dedicated banking services to this evolving sector," Greg Kosch, the company's head of commercial banking, said in a news release. "The oil and natural gas sector represents a tremendous growth opportunity. Richard and Alan's wealth of commercial banking and credit experience combined with Terry's technical background in petroleum engineering will help us develop strong relationships and customized services for companies in this space."

Fifth Third also said four other bankers have joined the company and will round out the energy lending unit. Byron Cooley will serve as a corporate relationship manager; Laura Gonnell will serve as senior engineering technician; and both Megan Larson and Helen Wiggins will serve as credit portfolio managers.

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