Adopting Adoption

Fifth Third Bank has been recognized as one of Ohio's "Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces" by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, for offering assistance to employees wishing to adopt children.Employees of the Fifth Third Bancorp unit receive up to $5,000 of financial assistance and as much as six days of medical leave, as part of the Family Medical Leave Act entitlements.

"If you are going to adopt, Fifth Third Bank will support you every step of the way," Todd Thorbahn, a Fifth Third assistant vice president, said in a press release last week.

Thomas, an adopted child, founded Wendy's, the fast-food chain.

Wholesale Change

Wells Fargo & Co. has landed six former Bank of America Corp. employees to build on the wholesale banking platform it inherited with its December purchase of Wachovia Corp.Peter Hill joined the San Francisco banking company as head of its public finance investment banking group, based in New York. He will oversee 165 employees and 28 offices.

Hill had been a managing director and head of public finance investment banking at Banc of America Securities, but he left the unit in January after B of A bought Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

Wells also hired five former B of A workers to fill positions in New York and Boston.

Matthew Brown and Chris Mueller will work in equities sales and trading, while Brian Kucich, Lisa Puelo, and Brendan Toulouse are in institutional sales.

B of A is in the midst of cutting up to 35,000 jobs after the Merrill purchase, but it is unclear if any of the new Wells employees had lost their previous jobs.

A Wells spokeswoman would not say why the new hires left B of A. A call to B of A wasn't immediately returned.

Buyer Beware

New York Community Bancorp, which grew through a spate of acquisitions, has been shying away from new deals lately for a seemingly ironic reason: it's a buyer's market.Its chief executive, Joseph Ficalora, said Wednesday that the Westbury company turned down $23 billion in deals to avoid getting stuck with unwanted assets.

Ficalora told the Barclays Capital Financial Services conference that the market turmoil has hampered his company's acquisition strategy of buying a bank for its deposits and loans and discarding everything else. "We could have bought all these banks, and opted not to buy them because we didn't want to plague our shareholders with the uncertainty of disposing their assets," he said.

New York Community has made eight acquisitions since 2000. The most recent was Synergy Financial Group Inc., in 2007.

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