OCC approves Fifth Third’s conversion to national bank

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WASHINGTON — Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati was approved Tuesday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to convert to a national bank charter.

The $169 billion-asset bank applied in May with the OCC to switch its Ohio state charter. A bank spokesman said at the time it viewed a national charter as “more efficient.” The charter conversion comes amid an expansion by the bank with new offices opening in Texas and Colorado, and completion of a merger with the Chicago-based MB Financial in March of this year.

“The national bank charter continues to have great value in providing banks a flexible regulatory framework that enables them to successfully conduct their businesses across the nation under a single prudential supervisor and meet the needs of the customers and communities they serve in a safe, sound, and fair manner,” Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement.

While a federal charter gives national banks certain preemptive powers, more banks have opted out of OCC supervision in favor of state charters since passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Before Fifth Third, the last bank to change from a state to national charter was American Express National Bank in Salt Lake City, which converted in April 2018.

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