Fifth Third ramps up hiring to speed efforts to help customers
Fifth Third Bancorp is planning to hire as many as 950 workers to help it contend with soaring demand for loan modifications, forbearance requests and other forms of relief its customers need to weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Cincinnati company said that most of jobs — 500 in retail, 350 in mortgage sales and support and 100 in operations — will be located in its hometown, as well as Greater Chicago and Michigan. Some are vacant, existing jobs; the rest are being added to support growing demand for consumer programs in retail banking center operations and mortgage sales business. The bank employed nearly 20,000 as of Dec. 31, 2019.
“Our Fifth Third customers and communities need us more than ever during these uncertain times and we will continue to be there for them,” Chairman, President and CEO Greg Carmichael said in a news release late Monday. He added that the new hires will “help provide critical employment opportunities so our communities can get back to work again,” he added.
Like most of its peers, Fifth Third in recent weeks has rolled out several hardship programs to help customers experiencing financial turmoil as the economy has shut down to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. They include 90-day payment forbearance for mortgages and home equity loans, suspension of all foreclosure activity on homes for 60 days and consumer credit card payment waivers for up to 90 days with no late fees.
On Monday, the $167.8 billion-asset company also began now taking applications from small businesses seeking emergency loans through the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department.
The $349 billion program is part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus package signed into law last month to help tackle some of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. Intended to get money to small businesses, the program got underway on April 3, but several banks delayed taking applications as the SBA and Treasury worked out the details of the hastily arranged program.
Fifth Third said it is prioritizing existing customers that have online banking profiles and accounts with the bank. It will take applications from noncustomers later this month, according to its website.
The bank did not say how many of the 950 jobs are newly created, nor did it provide a timeline for hiring. It did, however, say that its minimum wage is $18 per hour and certain on-site employees who are hired between now and May 10 will be eligible for up to $1,000 in bonuses.
Most of Fifth Third’s roughly 1,200 branches, across 10 states, are open by appointment only, with recommended social distancing and protective measures in place.