Fifth Third Bank and Bellwether Enterprise Announce Strategic Relationship to Expand Opportunities in Multifamily Housing Industry and Permanent Financing Execution

CINCINNATI and CLEVELANDFifth Third Bank, National Association, and Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital, LLC (Bellwether Enterprise), the commercial and multifamily mortgage banking subsidiary of Enterprise Community Investment Inc. (ECI), announced today a new strategic relationship.

Bringing together two institutions that are deeply committed to providing affordable multifamily housing, the relationship is designed to offer a broad set of solutions for the commercial real estate industry. Given Bellwether Enterprise’s wide capabilities with government lending programs, including Fannie Mae DUS, Freddie Mac, FHA, USDA, and others, this will provide long-term agency financing through Bellwether Enterprise for Fifth Third’s clients in this environment when the government is becoming the dominant financing source for real estate assets.

"We believe this relationship with Bellwether Enterprise provides an opportunity to strengthen our commercial real estate platform in a way that is meaningful for our clients," said Kevin Lavender, executive vice president and head of Commercial Bank for Fifth Third. "The diverse capabilities and relationships that Bellwether Enterprise brings to the table enables us to better serve a wider range of commercial real estate businesses together, with significant access to both private, and importantly, long-term governmental financing programs."

Fifth Third Bank will gain access to Bellwether Enterprise’s diverse permanent lender platform including its agency relationships and long-term correspondent relationships with life insurance companies. It will also have access to invest in new market tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, workforce housing equity and other products provided by Bellwether Enterprise’s parent company, Enterprise.

"Working with Fifth Third, given its significant resources, commercial real estate focus and client base, will help us as we continue with our growth initiatives," said Ned Huffman, president and CEO, Bellwether Enterprise. "Also, we know the cultures at Fifth Third and Bellwether are a solid fit. We will now have a very strong strategic partner that we can work with to provide many new products and services, and access to opportunities and relationships we currently do not have."

The relationship will provide Bellwether Enterprise the ability to leverage Fifth Third Bank's short-term and construction lending products, as well as treasury management, capital markets and investment solutions.

Bellwether Enterprise and Fifth Third share a common goal to advocate for and create affordable rental housing across the country. In a time of economic challenges, it's more important than ever to provide access to capital and government programs to build and maintain multifamily housing so that millions of Americans can have a stable place to call home. "Our common vision creates a solid foundation to allow Bellwether Enterprise, Enterprise and Fifth Third Bank to have access to more products and services that make affordable housing possible," said Charles Werhane, president and CEO, Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

Fifth Third Acquisition Holdings, LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fifth Third, also made a minority equity investment in Bellwether Enterprise as part of the relationship.

Beekman Advisors advised Bellwether Enterprise on negotiation and execution of the transaction.

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, National Association, a federally chartered institution. As of March 31, 2020, Fifth Third had $185 billion in assets and operated 1,123 full-service banking centers and 2,464 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 53,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of March 31, 2020, had $374 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $42 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Fifth Third's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.

About Bellwether Enterprise

Bellwether Enterprise is a national, full-service commercial and multifamily mortgage banking company. As a subsidiary of Enterprise Community Investment, Bellwether Enterprise has production offices across the country and an integrated servicing platform based in Cleveland. With local market expertise, national lending relationships and financing structure experience, we provide clients with competitive, creative solutions for their financing needs. Bellwether Enterprise provides loans for a range of institutional investors including life insurance companies, pension funds, commercial banks and CMBS lenders and is a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS®) lender, Freddie Mac Optigo™ seller/servicer for Conventional and Targeted Affordable Housing Loans, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) approved Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) lender and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Section 538 Rural Development lender.