Be Respectful and Inclusive

Fifth Third Bank is committed to inclusion and diversity. Through the work of our inclusion councils and business resource groups (BRGs), this comes to life in the communities we serve and in our workplace. In addition to operating 10 inclusion councils and 69 local BRGs, our senior leaders also lead eight virtual enterprise BRGs, which are groups that all employees can participate in virtually regardless of work location.

Our BRGs are open to all Fifth Third employees, and in July 2018, we launched our Ally program to encourage employees who are allies of individual BRGs to join them and become involved with their missions. It was formalized first with the LGBT+ BRG.

"I didn’t even fully realize that I was an ally of the LGBT+ community until I attended an Ohio Diversity Council event earlier last year," said Cherelle Houston, lead customer service representative in Maple Heights, Ohio."I know people in the LGBT+ community, and I’m a confidante and supporter, so I joined the BRG to show that support."

Caroline Hughes, senior decision scientist in Cincinnati, felt the same when she joined the Bank last summer. "It’s necessary to have a diverse group within all BRGs who support one another. Not everyone within a BRG should be the same."

Caroline has been working with the Cincinnati LGBT+ BRG to bring members from other BRGs together, including the Women’s and Young Professionals BRGs, through lunch roulette sessions and executive speaker panels to enable the different BRGs to network and learn from each other.

In addition to the LGBT+ ally program, we have encouraged new allies to join other regional BRGs locally and Enterprise BRGs virtually to show their support and to further their own development.

Louisville BRG

The Fifth Third Women’s BRG sponsored the Women 4 Women luncheon in Louisville in October, 2018. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Smart, an American child safety activist and contributor for ABC News, who was an abduction survivor. Women 4 Women and its donors improve the lives of women and girls in Metro Louisville through education, advocacy and focused grant-making.

Fifth Third employees attending pride parade in North Carolina

The LGBT+ Business Resource Group participated in the PRIDE parade in North Carolina in 2018 and employees carried signs saying, “Everyone deserves to live a Fifth Third Better®.” Even the Fifth Third Fee Shark made an appearance.

Fifth Third Bank BRGs

African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Individuals with Disabilities, and Latino Business Resource Groups

LGBT, Middle Eastern, Military, and Milticultural Business Resource Groups

Women's and Young Profressionals Business Resource Groups

Special Feature

Military BRG Spurs New Paid Military Leave Guidelines

We salute those who serve our country, and in 2018, we were proud to introduce new paid military leave guidelines to support our employees who serve in the uniformed services. The update to our guidelines was initiated by an employee who had faced financial challenges due to his military leave. "There was a period when I went without pay for six weeks," said Michael Routzon, reservist, officer and Business Controls analyst. "My past employers had paid military leave, and I knew we could help close the gap for other people who were in the same situation as me."

AJ Jessen, Treasury Management client implementations manager and reservist, had a similar experience missing several paychecks while on military leave. "The decision was to not get paid at all or use vacation time that I otherwise would have used to spend time with my family," AJ said. "I believed we could do better."

Military Business Resource Group members, including Michael and AJ, joined a focus group to talk about our guidelines and ways they could be improved, perhaps even beyond what other companies offer.

Military BRG Spurs New Paid Military Leave Guidelines

"Our new guidelines provide for 30 days of paid military leave per year, and by comparison, the government offers only 15 days of paid military leave annually,” Michael said. “Not only that, our new guidelines provide paid leave for any kind of military leave, including drills or training, not just active duty like many companies offer."

"The fact that we could impact this change shows the value of our BRGs," said Greg Chow, vice president, principal business analyst and Cincinnati’s Military BRG co-chair. "By bringing the BRG members to the table, we collectively could express the hardships faced by military members, provide alternatives based on examples from other companies and industries, and connect with the right team in Human Capital to make a real difference."

Project SEARCH

We have invested significant time and resources in being a supportive and dedicated company for people with developmental and/or physical disabilities. We were a founding member of the Project SEARCH program, a school-to-work transition program for students that provides three rotating internships at major corporations and often leads to gainful employment.

Project SEARCH is now run in three Fifth Third locations: the downtown and Madisonville campuses in Cincinnati and in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to Fifth Third, Project SEARCH is operated at more than 600 sites worldwide. In 2018, we worked with 27 interns at Fifth Third. We have educated 325 people through Project SEARCH since 2005, and are proud of the 31 Project SEARCH graduates who are members of our Bank team. 

Each year, we sponsor a Tee Off for Project SEARCH golf outing to raise funds for the program. In 2018, we raised $130,000, which brings the total we’ve raised through the years to $1.5 million.

We also care deeply about our employees who have family members with special needs. It was a concern that became real for Fifth Third Team Member Kristin Cole last year. Kristin works for the Fifth Third Private Bank and is a member of the Individuals with Disabilities BRG. She became a member of the BRG while she was pregnant with her second child.

"When I was 24 weeks pregnant with my son, Abe, my fiancé and I found out there was a good chance he’d be born with Down syndrome," Kristin said. "One of the first things I remembered was the day my team spent volunteering at Redwood, an organization that provides educational, therapeutic and vocational services to individuals with disabilities. That had been one of the best days of my life. I couldn’t have known at the time, but Fifth Third had provided an experience that gave me confidence to successfully parent a child with a disability."

"Abe is pure joy and the light of our lives," Kristin beamed. "His potential is unlimited. The evidence of that is everywhere—even at work—because I’m part of a company that employs and values people with disabilities. I love passing through the hallways at work and seeing fellow employees, some of whom have Down syndrome. There’s no greater evidence than that of working for a company that cares."

Abe’s first year has involved multiple doctor visits and consultations with specialists. "Fifth Third has been so good to me. Whenever I need to take time off to be there with him, I am encouraged to go without hesitation. I always appreciated that Fifth Third cares for its employees and their wellness, but you don’t necessarily feel it until you’re in a situation that sees it in action."

Project SEARCH

Fifth Third’s Tee Off for Project SEARCH golf outing in 2018 helped raise $130,000 for the school-to-work transition program for individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Fifth Third operates three Project SEARCH campuses.

Abe Homann-Hubbard

Abe Homann-Hubbard is the son of Fifth Third’s Kristin Cole. She says that Fifth Third’s support has meant the world to her since learning that her son could be born with Down syndrome.

Special Feature

Project SEARCH Grads Celebrate 12 Years with Fifth Third Bank

Project SEARCH interns

Five Project SEARCH interns are celebrating 12 years with Fifth Third.

Since 2005, Fifth Third Bank’s Project SEARCH program has provided interactive learning opportunities to 325 students. Five interns who started in our inaugural year remain with the Bank today, more than a dozen years later: Esther Ahn, operations general office clerk; Collin Biddle, investor specialist; Evan Denenberg, CFR file-document specialist; Sarah Kayes, receptionist; and Nathan Michelson, CFR file-document specialist.

They started in the program on our Madisonville campus in Cincinnati, where they received training and education to prepare them for gainful employment.

Todd Reese, vice president and Bancorp collateral operations manager, was one of the first managers to host a Project SEARCH intern in his department. “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hire Nathan, the first person coming out of the program in 2005. Both my work life and personal life have been enriched by everyone I’ve met—from teachers to interns and their parents, to facilitators and job coaches.”

"I have been a champion for this program since the beginning, and it is one of the reasons I’m so proud to work here," said Paul Moore, senior vice president and division head of Operations. "In addition to the success of our employees who have graduated from the program, I am also proud of the employees who have worked side-by-side with our Project SEARCH participants for the benefit of our business."

Talent Diversity

We are committed to talent diversity at every level of our Company, from our Board of Directors to our Executive Team to our over 18,000 employees.We are also committed to publishing our diversity demographic data, a practice we started with the 2016 CSR Report.

In 2018, Board members Jerry W. Burris, President and CEO of Midwest Can and Container Specialties Company, and Jewell D. Hoover, retired senior official with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, were named to the Black Enterprise 2018 Registry of African American Corporate Directors. Our executive team also includes three women of color who lead teams integral to our success: Byna Elliott, senior vice president and chief corporate community and economic development officer, Phenise Poole, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, and Saema Somalya, senior vice president and deputy general counsel.


on being named to the Black Enterprise 2018 Registry of African American Corporate Directors.

Jerry W. Burris

President and CEO of Midwest Can and Container Specialities Company

Fifth Third Bancorp Board Member

Jewell D. Hoover

Retired Senior Official with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Fifth Third Bancorp Board Member

Byna Elliot portrait Phenise Poole portrait Somalya Saema portrait
Byna Elliott
Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Community
and Economic Development Officer
Phenise Poole
Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Employment
Saema Somalya
Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate
Demographic Information as of 12/31/18
Women People of
Board of Directors 33.3% 25.0%
Exec/Senior Managers 25.2% 11.2%
First/Mid-level Managers 51.6% 17.6%
Professionals 51.3% 16.7%
All Others** 69.2% 31.7%
Total 60.1% 24.6%

Special Feature

Q&A with Board Member Jorge L. Benitez

Jorge Benitez

Jorge Benitez, retired chief executive officer of Accenture-North America, has served on the Fifth Third Board of Directors since May 2015. He has extensive experience developing and executing business strategies across a range of industries, particularly air, freight and travel and transportation services. He also possesses vast executive experience running operating units within a large multinational, publicly-traded corporation. He recently shared his thoughts on the importance of Board diversity.

Q. Why is a diverse board important for corporations?

“Diversity, whether it is at the Board, part of management or at a general team level, is about making better decisions by including multiple perspectives and experiences. Teams comprised of people with diverse backgrounds are better able to evaluate opportunities and solve problems. Gender, racial and ethnic diversity are important elements that shape who we are and how we think. When you consider multiple views, you develop better solutions.”

Q. How has your background prepared you for your role as a member of Fifth Third’s Board?

“I came to the United States at the age of 10 as a political refugee from Cuba. I didn’t speak a word of English when I started attending school near Cleveland, and my sister and I experienced the same difficulties faced by so many other immigrants and minorities—mispronounced names, ridicule over our accents and difficulties navigating a different culture. But, in the long run, I learned to understand and value cultural differences, and this skill has been critical to my professional success and my ability to contribute to Fifth Third’s Board. The power of diversity lies in having everyone feel valued, which enables them to contribute.”

Multicultural Recruitment

Our Company took great strides in 2018 to further implement our multicultural college recruitment strategy. The strategy is an important part of our $32 billion Community Commitment, helping to build not only stronger communities, but also a stronger bank.

Led by Hosetta Coleman, senior manager of university relations, our multicultural college recruiting strategy works to establish relationships with multiple colleges to recruit, hire and retain the best and brightest students. As part of our strategy, we have deepened our relationships with traditional colleges as well as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a way to strengthen the pipeline of diverse talent. The strategy also emphasizes internships and long-term employment through leadership programs.

While we have worked to deepen our partnerships at universities such as the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Miami University, all in Ohio, we have also worked to foster relationships with five HBCUs: Central State University (CSU), Florida A&M University (FAMU), Johnson C. Smith University, Wilberforce University and Tennessee State University (TSU). The HBCUs were selected based on their location within our Consumer Bank footprint, our leaders’ board involvement and the number of students we’ve hired through the years from those schools. The schools’ strong business and science, engineering, technology and math programs also were noted for developing the kind of talent that would excel at Fifth Third.

"This strategy is important because we want to ensure that we are reflective of our customer base," Hosetta said. "Strategies like this also help us add diversity of thought and improve our ability to serve all."

Last spring, Hosetta and a team of recruiters traveled to FAMU to recruit business and computer science students. At TSU, they hosted a job fair and financial literacy activities. They also hosted a reception and tour for CSU students at the Madisonville Operations Center in Cincinnati. In the fall, they traveled back to FAMU to launch a collegiate version of Fifth Third Finance Academy, and CSU became the inaugural HBCU to receive job coaching through our NextJob program. Our Community and Economic Development team supports the multicultural recruitment strategy through scholarship dollars to students at the core colleges to assist them with their educational needs.

Danielle Jones with FAMU President Dr. Larry Johnson

Fifth Third’s Danielle Jones, a FAMU graduate in 2005, was part of the team that traveled to campus as part of the Bank’s HBCU strategy to recruit African-American talent. She is pictured with FAMU President Dr. Larry Johnson.

Community and Economic Development team

Bank executives connected with African American leadership development students at a meet-and-greet luncheon in the Summer of 2018.

Engagement and Wellness

One of the primary ways we support health and wellness is through our annual support of United Way. In 2018, our employees and the Fifth Third Foundation combined to raise over $7 million for United Way agencies. Our team members also engaged in activities ranging from walks and poverty simulations, and to volunteer work at local non-profit organizations.

We are committed to participating in one company-wide health and wellness initiative each year to offer employees an opportunity to work together toward a common wellness goal. In 2018, all employees were invited to start down the path to good heart health by participating in a “Pass the Baton” Walk, which kicked off on Go Red Day on Feb. 2. Each employee had a designated time to start and finish the walks and many employee teams walked at their office location, around their local financial center and in the community. The final leg of the baton concluded with the American Heart Association’s 41st annual Heart Mini Marathon in Cincinnati on March 18. Fifth Third’s Chief Human Capital Officer Bob Shaffer served as the chair of the 2018 Heart Mini.

We also partnered with Mercy Health and the American Heart Association to offer a program called “Check. Change. Control.” The initiative encouraged employees to lower their blood pressure by initiating healthy habits like diet and exercise. The program helped participants learn how to monitor and manage blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be a precursor for heart disease or stroke. The results were encouraging: the average reduction in systolic blood pressure was 11.7mmHg, which equates to a 21 percent reduction in risk for heart attack and a 33 percent reduction in risk for a stroke. Fifteen percent of participants decreased their blood pressure from an uncontrolled level to controlled, based on the results from their first and last readings

Fifth Third Serves in Chicago

Employee volunteers from Chicago who worked to feed the hungry throughout the month of May.

Fifth Third employees in California and Houston

Employee volunteers in California and Houston, where Fifth Third operates Commercial offices outside of our Consumer Bank footprint, also worked to fight hunger as part of our Feeding our Communities initiative.

Fifth Third’s annual “Feeding Our Communities” initiative provided more than 1.7 million meals in May to fight hunger, surpassing the Bank’s goal for the second straight year. The month-long effort included more than 4,000 volunteer hours by our employees to support individuals and communities across the Bank’s 10-state footprint and other key markets.

According to Feeding America, an estimated 41 million Americans—including nearly 13 million children—live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. Statistics like these inspire us to be part of the solution to ending hunger.

We partnered with more than 85 organizations across our footprint to provide employee volunteer opportunities in May. Each region identified needs in their local communities and designed volunteer efforts to support. In Chicago, we provided more than 179,000 meals for the hungry. Employees engaged in activities including sorting and packing meals with the Northern Illinois Food Banks in Geneva, Deer Park and Rockford, Illinois. They also hosted a special event at Navy Pier, helping fill 1,000 backpacks with nutritious meals on behalf of Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that provides food to children who are often dependent on school food programs for their meals and nutrition.

Georgia employees provided more than 34,500 meals and volunteered nearly 100 hours to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Hosea Helps Family Center to box food for families in the communities that the Bank serves. In North Carolina, employees provided more than 50,000 meals through contributions and volunteer activities. The employees volunteered more than 250 hours on activities that included packing meals through the BackPack Buddies program and volunteering at two Second Harvest Food Banks in the state. Additional donations brought the state total to nearly 88,000. Fifth Third teams in markets where we don’t have Consumer bank branches, like Texas and California, also joined in the effort.­

Special Feature

Team Member Finishes United Way Walk after Lupus Diagnosis

For the fourth consecutive year, our employees in Cincinnati organized "United We Walk," a walk held at our Madisonville campus. The walk is designed to raise funds for United Way and to encourage good health. Last year, the walk took on a new level of importance when an employee, devastated by a life-threatening diagnosis of lupus, made completion of the walk a major goal during his treatment.

A former football player for Thomas More College, Ronnie Williams was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus in April 2017. It started with pain in his left leg, which was later discovered to be a blood clot. His brain swelled and his body filled with fluid. He suffered a stroke and became unresponsive before a team of 10 specialists diagnosed him. At the time, he’d been employed with Fifth Third for only a few weeks.

His mom, Roshelle Williams, is also a Bank employee. "Fifth Third was ready to accommodate Ronnie and kept him on short-term disability," she said. "They kept his income streaming, which helped me with our household. I was missing time, too, because he needed me. Our management was outstanding and helped in every way possible."

Ronnie is a fighter. He spent over two months in Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati and then time rehabilitating from the stroke. "Every time I saw him, I’d whisper in his ears how loved he was and how I raised him to fight," Roshelle said. And that’s just what her son did. Ronnie took his first steps and promised to be walking by his birthday in July. He fulfilled that vow and in September 2017, he was cleared to return to work.

"I made the race a goal of mine because I’m a big supporter of United Way, and I really wanted to prove what I was capable of in terms of completing the walk and showing the people I care for most how far along I’ve really come," Ronnie said.

While he was finishing the walk—one that doctors told him he may not live to see—Mom was waiting along the walking path with a hug.

Roshelle Williams hugs her son, Ronnie Williams

Fifth Third team member Roshelle Williams hugs her son, Ronnie Williams, as he completes a walk doctors told him he might not live to see.

Special Feature

From Tragedy, a Legacy of Resilience and Solidarity

Fifth Third Strong.

Tragedy landed on the doorsteps of Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati late last summer. On Sept. 6, a gunman opened fire in the lobby of our headquarters. The brave and rapid response of police officers brought a quick end to the situation, but not before three members of our Fifth Third family were killed and two others injured.

As is often the case, the worst of times brought out the best in people. During the shooting, employees, contractors and security guards risked their lives to keep others out of harm’s way. Police officers, running toward the gunfire rather than away from it, prevented further bloodshed. The thousands of people on Fifth Third’s downtown campus and others around Fountain Square patiently awaited the "all clear," helping one another through hours of fear and difficulty.

In the aftermath, the community rallied around us. The outpouring of support from customers, fellow employees, neighbors, businesses, political leaders and others—even strangers near and far—provided great comfort. People donated money and blood. Many left mementos and words of encouragement on Fountain Square. They humbled us. They inspired us. They strengthened us.

Through the leadership of the community as a whole, #FifthThirdStrong and #CincinnatiStrong arose organically, becoming symbols of solidarity, fortitude and resilience. They also became part of our legacy, a clear reminder that we are, and always will be, Fifth Third Strong.

Supplier Diversity

We continue to value our diverse suppliers and have taken great strides in recent years to increase our spend, the number of diverse suppliers with whom we work and diverse supplier representation in challenging spending categories. In 2018, our diversity spend was $77.4 million—a 55% increase over 2017 efforts.

The Summit

We hosted our fourth annual Supplier Diversity Summit last year, with the theme of "Leveling Up Your Business". The summit focused on providing women and minority business owners with the information and access they need to advance their companies. We host the Summit to help diverse companies understand what it means to be a supplier to Fifth Third and if they are an existing supplier, how they can continue to deepen their relationship with the Bank. It’s also a way for women-, minority- and veteran-owners to gain perspectives from each other, while learning about additional business opportunities within their respective organizations. Over 180 people attended the 2018 event, and more than 60 diverse companies from 15 states were represented.

Fifth Third spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually in goods and services, ranging from facility-management services to information technology and office supplies. Awarding more of these contracts to diverse businesses has been a major focus of our Bank. "We continue to take an integrated and thoughtful approach to identifying, supporting and partnering with the many qualified diverse suppliers all over the country," said Chief Sourcing Officer Juan Munoz. "The Summit affords us the opportunity to collaborate with these individuals and to make them aware of the opportunities that exist at the Bank."

A highlight of the 2018 summit was recognizing graduates of the Ohio Minority Supplier Diversity Council/Ohio State University Fisher School of Business Supplier Diversity Executive Education (SDEE) program. Sponsored by Fifth Third, the SDEE program delivers development opportunities for the enhancement of minority business executives within the area of operational excellence. This curriculum helps these MBE’s become better suppliers to corporate partners. The program also helps facilitate the employment and economic development of minority communities.

 Supplier Diversity Summit

Kimberly Blackwell (right), CEO of PMM Agency, served as keynote speaker at our 2018 Supplier Diversity Summit. She shared that, as a business visionary, an owner has the opportunity and responsibility every day to share the company’s brand with the world. She is pictured with Fifth Third’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Stephanie Smith (left) and Chairman, President and CEO Greg Carmichael.

Through the years, Fifth Third has developed many partnerships with organizations that focus on enhancing the capacity, expertise and business acumen of diverse suppliers: the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). In 2018, our Supplier Diversity Program was recognized by Minority Business News as one of the Best of the Decade, by Diversity Plus Magazine for Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Stephanie Smith’s accomplishments in directing the supplier diversity initiatives, and by WBENC as one of America’s Top Corporations. Fifth Third was 1 of only 60 companies nationally to be recognized by WBENC as one of America’s top corporations working with women business owners.

The Pitch

We worked with Messer Construction, Co. last year to create an innovative program called The Pitch, which created a platform for small businesses to compete for contracts, mentoring and monetary prizes. We saw 50 local businesses apply and 18 were selected as finalists to make their pitch: 10 to Fifth Third and eight to Messer.

The Fifth Third winner received a first-place prize package worth $10,000. It included a Cintrifuse membership, a one-year Union Hall residency and an $8,850 cash investment in the winner’s business. The Messer Construction Co. first-place winner received a one-on-one meeting with Messer’s leadership, an introductory lunch with Messer’s senior management team, a financial assessment by the Minority Business Accelerator and quarterly mentoring from a Messer senior manager.

“Current capacity makes it difficult for corporations to identify diverse companies that are qualified to do business,” said Stephanie Smith, chief inclusion and diversity officer at Fifth Third Bank. “Executives at Fifth Third Bank and Messer Construction realized this issue and created The Pitch to help create a fair and level playing field for diverse suppliers.”

Natasia Malihollo is founder and CEO of Wyzerr, which develops artificial intelligence to turn customer and employee feedback data into real-time insights. She said winning first place in The Pitch helped build her company’s reputation. “Revenue aside, getting a corporate contract validates a company’s business model and removes a lot of the friction and doubts about a company’s capabilities,” she said.

 Fifth Third's The Pitch

Natasia Malihollo, center, was the winner of Fifth Third’s The Pitch contest for women- and minority-owned companies.

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2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

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