Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Fifth Third to increase dividend


Industry notes: Banking

By Jeff McKinney
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The parent of Fifth Third Bank will raise its quarterly dividend by 12 percent, the Cincinnati banking company said Tuesday.

Fifth Third Bancorp said the new dividend will be 29 cents, up from 26 cents. The dividend will be paid July 15 to shareholders of record June 30.

The last time the bank boosted its quarterly dividend was September 2002.

Home-repair loans offer sub-market rates

A Cincinnati agency is offering below-market interest rates to Cincinnati residents to help them repair their homes.

The Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati is making the home-repair loans available at rates from 3 percent to 6 percent, depending on household income.

In contrast, fixed-rate home improvement loans being offered by local financial institutions now range from about 6 percent to about 7 percent, depending on the type and term of the loan.

The loans, offered through the center's Rehab Loan Program, are targeted for city of Cincinnati residents who need to make major home repairs.

The loans are limited to homeowners with a household income up to 80 percent of median income, or $51,450 for a family of four. The income limits for residents living in the Empowerment Zone is 100 percent of median income, or $64,300 for a four-person family. The Empowerment Zone neighborhoods include parts of Avondale, Corryville, Evanston, Fairview/Clifton Heights, Mount Auburn, Over-the-Rhine, Queensgate, Walnut Hills and the West End. For more details, call 961-2800 or visit www.hometoday.cc.

PNC checking account targets folks 50 and up

Hoping to grab a larger share of a growing market and keep existing customers, PNC Bank has launched a new checking account for older folks.

The bank's latest account for customers age 50 and above offers services PNC introduced after getting feedback from those customers about whatchecking account services they wanted.

It also could bring PNC new customers from one of the Tristate's fastest-growing markets. The population for people age 55 and older in Greater Cincinnati is expected to grow 1.88 percent, compared to 0.42 percent between 2002 and 2007, or about 4.5 times the growth rate of the general population, according to U.S. Census data.

The accounts includes no monthly services fees or balance requirements, free stop-payments on checks, $5 discounts on any order of 150 checks or more, $8 discount on annual free safe deposit box rental with automatic debit from a senior plan checking account or $5 without automatic deduction.

U.S. Bank gets military vehicle contract

U.S. Bank, operator of one of the Tristate's largest banks, has won a contract with a Mason-based firm to help it provide financing of vehicles for military personnel.

U.S. Bank will act as an agent to a line of credit up to $100 million to Security National Automotive Acceptance Corp , including directly lending the firm $25 million, along with four other banks, for working capital. SNAAC is now using $80 million of the line to help make loans to its military clients.

U.S. Bank, which also is offering SNAAC treasury management and other banking services, will replace an unidentified local lender as SNAAC's previous agent.

SNAAC provides dealers of used automobiles with financing for those in the military who have little or no access to other financing sources. It's licensed to do business in 24 states and buys from more than 600 dealers. The firm also employs about 110 people locally.

Email jmckinney@enquirer.com



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