The Fifth Third Center sits at the southwest corner of Main and Third Streets in downtown Dayton. The 21-story building was constructed in 1989. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Fifth Third ramps up small business lending in Dayton

Fifth Third Bank said it has boosted its small business lending and housing investments in Dayton.

The Dayton market saw $52.1 million in mortgage lending from the Cincinnati-based bank in 2016, with $54.5 million in small business lending and $54.3 million in “community development lending and investments.”

RELATED: Small business lending focus of Fifth Third’s ‘commitment’

Last year, Fifth Third pledged to boost its overall community lending and investment commitments by $2.5 billion to $30 billion over the next four years — and Dayton investments were expected to be one part of that.

The pledge itself was spurred by the Federal Reserve system giving the bank a “needs to improve” rating — the second lowest in a range of four ratings — on its community investments last summer.

Brian Lamb — named last year as Fifth Third executive vice president, chief corporate responsibility and reputation officer — said in an interview Friday that the 2016 numbers represent an improvement over 2015.

While small businesses — businesses with less than $1 million in revenue — in the bank’s Dayton market saw nearly $55 million in loans last year, Lamb said the number of small business loans in 2016 increased in volume 22 percent compared to 2015.

There were 220 Fifth Third small business loans in the market last year, compared to about 180 loans of that type the year before, he said.

“When we were in the community, they really appreciated the dollar volumes we were talking about,” Lamb said. “But they (Dayton customers) were more focused on access to capital.”

He added, “I think the real story here is we’re touching more small businesses.”

He also said community development lending and investment — mostly in affordable housing — also was up in 2016.

This year, those kinds of loans reached $54.3 million.

“We doubled the number of loans we did just in the Dayton market,” Lamb said. Ten loans of that type in the Dayton market in 2015 rose to 20 last year, he said.

Those loans go mostly to housing-related projects, including the Oberer-driven Twin Towers Crossing II single-family homes development in East Dayton.

“It’s not just the dollar amount — it’s the purpose of the dollars that has a real impact on the Dayton community,” Lamb said.

The bank also put new leadership in the Dayton market.

In recent weeks, Marya Rutherford-Long was named Fifth Third’s new Dayton community and economic development manager.

Previously, Fifth Third was “covering” Dayton from Cincinnati, Lamb said. But he said it was important to the bank to put local representation in place.

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