By Greg Paeth
Major players from near and far are all jostling for a share of the active Northern Kentucky financial services scene, which is part of the largest banking market serving the commonwealth. National players such as Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, other majors headquartered outside the region and a long list of institutions that proudly emphasize their “community bank” status and savvy all are busy.
Data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation makes it clear the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area of about 2.2 million people is clearly the largest financial services market in the state of Kentucky.
At the end of June 2018, the most recent report available, the FDIC reported there were 64 banks in the metropolitan area with combined deposits of nearly $112.3 billion inside the region. Based on deposits, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky is more than four times larger than Louisville, where there was about $27 billion in 40 banks in the metro area, the FDIC said.
U.S. Bank, whose parent company is in Minneapolis, ranks first with deposits of nearly $54 billion in 110 metro area offices and a hefty 48 percent share of the banking business in the region, the FDIC reports.
There are huge national banks in Northern Kentucky – U.S. Bank is fifth largest in the U.S., PNC sixth, BB&T 11th and Fifth Third is No. 16. But that hasn’t deterred other banks from competing for a slice of the market, and healthy competition is afoot.
One such financial institution is Civista Bank. The Ohio-based bank recently opened a loan office in Ft. Mitchell. The $2.1 billion organization was originally founded in 1884 and not only serves the personal and business banking, mortgage, and wealth management needs of the communities it serves but also economic, educational, cultural, and health and human service initiatives within those communities. Civista Bank is the banking subsidiary of Civista Bancshares Inc., and has branches located throughout Northern, Central and Southwestern Ohio and Southeastern Indiana.
Louisville-based Republic Bank & Trust, far from a mom-and-pop shop with more than $3.4 billion in deposits, opened an office in Crestview Hills in March 2018 and now has three Northern Kentucky offices, one in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood and a total of 45 locations in five states.
“The Norwood office has been better than expected and we now have a full team over there,” said Tom Saelinger, market president for Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati for Republic, which entered the market in 2006 with a branch in Fort Wright. “For the third quarter we were up about 20 percent in both loans and deposits, so it’s been a really good year.”
Republic is contemplating additional offices in suburban Cincinnati and in northern Campbell County or Newport, Saelinger said.
Deeply invested in the region
The largest bank based in Northern Kentucky – Heritage, with headquarters in Erlanger – ranks No. 12 in the region by market share and had deposits of about $670 million, according to the FDIC.
Its memorable slogan – “We have our roots where others have their branches” – drives home the point that Heritage is homegrown and deeply invested in the region, a poster child example of a “community bank.” In mid-2018 the bank posted a “Declaration of Independence” news release stating: “We … do hereby declare our deep and ongoing commitment to remaining an independently owned and operated community bank.”
Republic, Heritage and Central Bank & Trust, headquartered in Lexington, all stress they are community banks with strong ties to the cities and counties where they are located and usually staffed with people who have intimate knowledge of the markets as well as the people who keep the wheels turning.
Central Bank, with assets of more than $2.5 billion, also seems convinced there’s room for community banks to grow in the region.
According to Jim Uebel, market president for Northern Kentucky for Central Bank, the Northern Kentucky market opened up for community banks after then-dominant Bank of Kentucky, based in Crestview Hills, was acquired in 2015 by Branch Bank & Trust (BB&T), which is headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“That market disruption left a huge void in the region and the last few years have been tremendous for us,” Uebel said.
Central Bank in 2014 had a small share of the market and about $52 million in deposits. Now Central’s market share has doubled to near 1 percent, and deposits have tripled to $153 million, the FDIC reported.
While acknowledging that more people are banking online, Uebel said Central is building a fourth branch in the region in Union, a booming city in Boone County, which is one of the fastest growing counties in the state.
Increasing its physical presence gives his staff the chance to meet people face-to-face and provide personal service that isn’t available from the banking behemoths, according to Uebel.
Lexington’s Forcht Bank also is making substantial investments in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.
At the end of October, Forcht acquired Watch Hill Bank, which has two Cincinnati locations. Forcht has an office in downtown Covington as well as a second Northern Kentucky location in Burlington. Forcht now has 24 offices and assets of about $1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Cove Federal Credit Union, founded in 1978 by St. Elizabeth Hospital employees, has seen tremendous growth, with assets rising from $10 million to more than $55 million.
The financial services sector in Northern Kentucky is flush with banks, credit unions, advisors and investment specialists to ensure the earning, flow and investment of dollars is done wisely.
300 Buttermilk Pike
Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017
Civista Bank offers a uniquely local commitment to relationship banking combined with over 130 years of experience and strength. From real-estate investment financing and optimizing cash flow, to preserving personal liquidity and building cash reserves, the Civista team of business banking, personal banking, mortgage and wealth management professionals offers personalized strategies tailored to each client.
With over $2.1 billion in assets and 38 offices across Ohio, Southeastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky, Civista is distinctively sized to serve a broad range of small business to commercial clients, their employees and families. Member FDIC. An Equal Housing Lender.
Central Bank & Trust Co.
7310 Turfway Road, Suite 200
Florence, KY 41042
A full-service community bank, Central Bank offers banking, insurance, investments and wealth management services for personal and business needs. And it’s a great time to make the switch to Central as we are growing in NKY. Visit one of our convenient locations in Florence, Fort Mitchell or Crestview Hills, and coming soon to Union, to learn more.
Allied Financial Solutions
Altus Wealth Management, LLC
Bannockburn Global Forex, LLC
Bartlett Wealth Management
Bottom Line Services
The Catalytic Development Funding Corp.
Citizens Deposit Bank
Citizens Federal Savings & Loan Association
Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co.
Coppage Wealth Management
Cove Federal Credit Union
Eagle Financial Services Inc.
Envoy Mortgage Ltd.
Fifth Third Bank
Focus On Success
Fourth Street Performance Partners, Inc.
FTJ Fund Choice LLC
Guardian Savings Bank
Huntington National Bank
Kemba Financial Credit Union
Kentucky Federal, A Division of Cincinnati Federal
Kentucky Land Title Agency Inc.
L & N Federal Credit Union
Erlanger, Ft. Wright
MCM CPA & Advisors
Morris & Bressler PSC
Odyssey Financial Advisors – Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.
OMEGA Processing Solutions LLC
Option Financial LLC
Polaris Home Funding Corporation
Principled Wealth Advisors LLC
Prosperity Financial Group
Renaissance Investment Management
Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company
Stockton Mortgage Corp.
Union Home Mortgage Corp.
Victory Community Bank
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Wurz Financial Services
Information provided by Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Not a comprehensive list.