Bank presidents play big roles in business, community

If history is any indication, KeyBank’s next Dayton market president will be an important community leader.

Ed Reilly retired as Southwest Ohio district president this month for Cleveland-based KeyBank. Not only was Reilly the face of KeyBank in the Dayton-Cincinnati area, he is recognized as an advocate of Dayton and downtown.

Now the question is whether KeyBank will name a successor from inside or outside the company or externally, and whether the person will be from Dayton or another market.

That selection “kind of says what (Key’s) interest is in Dayton. I think people wonder what the longevity will be of the person,” said Roger Furrer, regional president for Greater Dayton and Northern Ohio of First Financial Bank.

Regional bank presidents are major figures on the scene, leading the bank’s local strategy for growing market share. They often become heavily involved in community efforts as they work with their large local clients.

“These days you’re not just market president, you have other responsibilities,” said Ron Amos, U.S. Bank’s market president Dayton.

Amos, for example, is the former board chair of The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and 2002 United Way campaign chair. JPMorgan Chase Dayton president and commercial bank manager Joey Williams is also a Dayton city commissioner. Steve Petitjean, Fifth Third Dayton city executive, serves on multiple boards.

Meanwhile, the competition for business is stiffer than ever.

Reilly told the Dayton Daily News that when he started in banking 36 years ago, there were three major banks in Dayton that held most of the market share. Today, six banks, including leader Fifth Third, hold more than 5 percent deposit market share each, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. They include a mix of multinationals such as Chase and regionals such as Fifth Third and Huntington Bancshares.

Chase, Fifth Third, First Financial, Huntington, KeyBank, and U.S. Bank employ more than 13,600 people and operate 345 branches in the Cincinnati,Dayton and Springfield areas. PNC Financial Services Group does not disclose local employment figures.

While there’s more competition, Dayton is considered a no-growth market. Deposits held in the metro total more than $10.42 billion as of the end of June 2011. That amount hasn’t changed much — less than 1 percent — from total bank deposits of $10.39 billion in 2007, according to the FDIC.

“There’s still a lot of banks that are represented here for a very limited growth market. That’s a challenge; that’s not unique,” said David Melin, Dayton regional president of PNC.

Credit unions, insurance companies and credit card companies offering small business lending, for example, add to the competition, Furrer said.

Dayton’s biggest banks differentiate themselves on their size and related resources, and customer service.

“It’s really kind of hand-to-hand combat in a lot of respects,” said Mark Reitzes, southern Ohio/Kentucky region president for Columbus’ Huntington Bancshares.

Defense, health and education industries are driving Dayton’s market today, but most of Dayton’s economy is made of small- to medium-size companies, said bank officials.

“Companies between $10 and 75 million dollars of revenue, a lot of those companies are doing well too. A lot of those companies are manufacturing companies. A lot of distribution companies are doing well,” said Williams of Chase. “We’re seeing more foreign multinational companies investing in the region.”

A healthy economy is a bank’s lifeblood, Williams said. A growing business needs loans and working capital. But a concern for the Dayton economy’s long-term health is the lack of entrepreneurs, Melin added.

“The Dayton community is primarily a small business middle market-type community. You’re going to have people that are naturally exiting the business,” Melin said. “But if you don’t have anyone starting one, the number of businesses that you have would diminish. You need to have that growth in businesses.”

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