Great Southern Bank acquires Fifth Third Bank’s St. Louis retail operations

Springfield’s Great Southern Bank will acquire the St. Louis-area retail operations of Fifth Third Bank, a Cincinnati-based outfit.

The deal includes 12 branches, $261 million in deposits and $155 million in loans, Great Southern said. Fifth Third will keep the wholesale and institutional operations it has in St. Louis.

With the acquisition, Great Southern expands its footprint in the St. Louis region from eight branches to 20, and it doubles its St. Louis deposits.

The deal follows Fifth Third’s June announcement that it would eliminate up to 100 branches across the country as more customers turn to ATMs and mobile phones for banking needs.

The news also comes after a two-year Department of Justice investigation into allegations of discriminatory auto loan practices by Fifth Third. The bank agreed to pay $18 million to settle out of court, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports.

In an official statement, Fifth Third asserted it did not charge higher auto loan interest rates to African-American and Hispanic customers, but did not want to continue to waste resources contesting the issue.

Read more from the Springfield News-Leader and the St. Louis Business Journal

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