SunTrust Banks Inc., the parent company of SunTrust Bank, is the youngest major bank to yearn for part of the Cleveland commercial business.
The Atlanta-based bank, with total assets of $ 207 billion, announced the opening of commercial banking offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati, anchored by local market veterans, as the company marks its first physical expansion of commercial credit business outside of its 11 states plus Washington DC
The Cleveland office is headed by Northeast Ohio bank doctor Jim Geuther. Geuther most recently served as Regional President for the Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania markets of JPMorgan Chase Bank, a position he held for five years. Prior to that, he spent five years at FirstMerit Bank, which was acquired by Huntington Bank last year, and two decades at KeyBank.
Ben Willingham, who most recently served as Senior Vice President at US Bank, will lead the Cincinnati office.
“We see a void in commercial banking where many businesses are underserved and need access to functions beyond a loan – such as M&A advisory, capital markets and treasury management,” said Allison Dukes, managing director of SunTrust Commercial Banking, in a statement.
With nearly 190 banks operating in Ohio, it is debatable whether either market is really underserved in such a fragmented landscape.
However, Cleveland seems to have become an increasingly attractive market for commercial bankers lately.
For example, California’s Bank of the West announced the opening of a credit bureau in Cleveland in June. And Citizens Bank, one of the largest banks in Northeast Ohio, recently acquired Cleveland M&A advisory firm Western Reserve Partners, which is purpose-built for business because it is interested in expanding its capital markets offering, and its founder Ralph Della Ratta Named Ohio Market President.
On the smaller end of the banking spectrum, Sandusky’s Civista Bank recently opened a loan production office, while Geauga Savings Bank has moved its headquarters from Newbury to Beachwood. Everyone has given reasons for finding lower middle class commercial businesses around Greater Cleveland.
Outside Ohio, SunTrust expands commercial banking to Dallas-Fort Worth.
“These new Market Presidents will help us achieve our purpose of paving the way to financial well-being for our commercial customers in the Midwest and Southwest,” added Dukes in a statement. “They were selected because they adapt to our culture and are able to offer customer-oriented advice, demonstrate their strengths in working in various business areas and have a thorough understanding of their markets.”