Fifth Third Bank and Old Kent Complete Merger - President of Fifth Third Bank, East Michigan, Appointed

Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from Fifth Third Bancorp

    DETROIT, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:   FITB) and
 Old Kent Financial Corporation announced today that they have completed their
 merger.  The combined company, which will operate as Fifth Third Bancorp, will
 have approximately $70 billion in assets, $48 billion in deposits, $195
 billion in custody assets and a market capitalization of $30 billion.  For the
 year ended December 31, 2000, on a pro forma basis, the combined company
 generated $3.7 billion in operating revenue, $1.1 billion in net income and
 $2.10 in operating earnings per share.
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     Fifth Third Bank also announced today that Patrick J. Fehring Jr. has been
 appointed President of Fifth Third Bank, East Michigan.  In his new position,
 Fehring will be responsible for the executive management of Fifth Third Bank
 throughout the tri-county area as well as Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe,
 Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair and Lenawee counties.
     Fehring began his career with Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati in 1979.  He
 held positions in both corporate and retail banking until 1990 when he was
 appointed President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio.
     "I am excited to be named President of Fifth Third Bank's Detroit
 affiliate and look forward to becoming an active member of this community,"
 Fehring said.  "Old Kent has an excellent reputation in Michigan and I am
 thrilled to be part of the leadership team that will build a new franchise for
 Fifth Third in east Michigan."
     As a result of this merger, Fifth Third will be ranked fourth in the state
 of Michigan with a nine percent market share, and sixth in Chicago with
 approximately $5.5 billion in deposits.  Fifth Third will have 974 full-
 service Banking Centers, including 148 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days
 a week and 1,930 Jeanie(R) Automated Teller Machines throughout Ohio,
 Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and Arizona.
     Fifth Third will exchange, on a tax-free basis, 0.74 shares of its common
 stock for each share of Old Kent common stock.  Based upon Fifth Third's
 March 30, 2001 closing price of $53.44, the transaction, which is accounted
 for as a pooling of interests, is valued at approximately $5.5 billion.
     George A. Schaefer, Jr., President & CEO, Fifth Third Bancorp, reports,
 "With the addition of Old Kent, we have achieved our goal of entering the
 attractive deposit markets of Michigan and Illinois.  We welcome one million
 new customers from Old Kent, and are now poised to deliver banking and
 investment products and services to 16 million people in this region."
     He continues, "Fifth Third has proven its ability to assimilate
 acquisitions successfully -- without sacrificing quality earnings growth.  Our
 management teams are in place and are working very hard to ensure a seamless
 conversion.  David Wagner will join Fifth Third Bancorp's Board of Directors
 in June and will serve as Chairman of our Michigan bank.  Two Fifth Third
 leaders, Brad Stamper and Pat Fehring, will serve as President & CEO of our
 banks in Chicago and Detroit, respectively.  Two Old Kent leaders, Kevin Kabat
 and John Pelizzari, have been appointed President & CEO of our banks in
 Western Michigan and Northern Michigan, respectively."
     Old Kent Financial Corporation Chairman, President & CEO David J. Wagner
 remarks, "We are combining two superior performing banks with contiguous and
 similar Midwest markets, and will realize immediate earnings per share
 accretion.  Additionally, Fifth Third has already introduced several new
 initiatives to our marketplace, and our consumer and business customers are
 enjoying a wider range of deposit, lending, corporate treasury management and
 merchant processing services.  In fact, we have opened two and a half times as
 many checking accounts over the same period last year."
     He adds, "Fifth Third's decentralized decision making empowers local Fifth
 Third bankers to find the best way to produce double-digit earnings growth and
 invest capital in the communities where we operate.  It's a winning strategy."
     Old Kent locations, accounts and ATMs will convert to Fifth Third over a
 six-month period, beginning in late April.  A Welcome To Fifth Third video
 with a message from each affiliate President as well as an informational
 booklet about Fifth Third's products and services will be sent to each Old
 Kent customer prior to the conversion.
     Fifth Third will report first quarter 2001 earnings, excluding the effect
 of Old Kent, on April 16, 2001 prior to the market opening.  Pooled results
 including Old Kent will be reported beginning in the second quarter.  Fifth
 Third recently issued pro forma condensed income statements for the combined
 activities of Fifth Third and Old Kent for the year ended December 31, 2000 as
 well as the quarterly results of 2000.
     Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company
 headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Company has $70 billion in assets,
 operates 17 affiliates with 974 full-service Banking Centers, including 148
 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and
 1,930 Jeanie(R) ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Michigan
 and Illinois.  A leader in e-commerce, Fifth Third was named #1 e-business
 innovator by PC Week.  The financial strength of Fifth Third's affiliate banks
 continues to be recognized by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and
 Aa2 from Standard & Poor's and Moody's, respectively.  Additionally, Fifth
 Third Bancorp continues to maintain the highest short-term ratings available
 at A-1+ and Prime-1, and was recently recognized by Moody's with one of the
 highest senior debt ratings for any U.S. bank holding company of Aa3.  Fifth
 Third operates four main businesses:  Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors
 and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank's data processing subsidiary.  Investor
 information and press releases can be viewed at ; press releases
 are also available by fax at no charge by calling 800-758-5804, identification
 number 281775.  The Company's common stock is traded in the over-the-counter
 market through The Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "FITB."
     This document contains or may contain forward-looking statements about
 Fifth Third Bancorp which we believe are within the meaning of the Private
 Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  This document contains certain
 forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of
 operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business of Fifth Third
 including statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words
 "believes," "expects," "anticipates," or similar expressions.  These forward-
 looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties.  There are a
 number of important factors that could cause future results to differ
 materially from historical performance and these forward-looking statements.
 Factors that might cause a difference include, but are not limited to:  (1)
 competitive pressure among depository institutions increase significantly; (2)
 changes in the interest rate environment reduce interest margins; (3)
 prepayment speeds, loan sales volumes, charge-offs and loan loss provisions;
 (4) general economic conditions, either natural or in the states in which
 Fifth Third does business, are less favorable than expected; (5) legislative
 or regulatory changes adversely affect the businesses in which Fifth Third is
 engaged; and (6) changes in the securities markets.  Further information on
 other factors which could affect the financial results of Fifth Third after
 the merger are included in Fifth Third's filings with the Securities and
 Exchange Commission.  These documents are available free of charge at the
 Commission's website at from Fifth Third Bancorp.

SOURCE Fifth Third Bancorp