Huntington Bank grows stronger with FirstMerit folded into its operations

Winning over customers during the integration and conversion was no different than any other time.

“We need to do that every day. I would tell you that this year, next year,” Steinour says. “Our customer service is not something we take for granted. It comes from our colleagues really feeling engaged and committed to giving great service.”

It’s also important to connect to the communities you’re working in.

For example, Huntington plans to combine two of its existing operating facilities in Columbus, in order to build the Huntington Gateway Center for up to 1,600 employees. The investment in the Northland neighborhood of Northeast Columbus will help anchor the neighborhood’s transition, along with a broader set of lending commitments.

Steinour felt with the purchase of FirstMerit, it was important to get to Akron, which held the bank’s headquarters, to talk to the community about Huntington’s plans.

While Huntington still has a lot of jobs in Columbus, he says it’s good to have a significant set of facilities elsewhere. If Columbus loses electricity or has major building damage from something such as a tornado, the bank can now shift work into Akron.

Huntington also has already started investing in the Akron area.

“We are going to continue to invest and we hope to grow,” he says. “This wasn’t about putting two companies together and then we go off and do the things we were doing before. We’ve got now a combined team. We are stronger together. We are in a better position to grow. And we will look to do that and to invest along the way.”

 

Takeaways:

  • Culture indicates the amount of change an acquisition requires.
  • Win over your employees to deliver better customer service.
  • Strong collaboration brings better net results.

 

The Steinour File:

Name: Steve Steinour
Title: Chairman, president and CEO
Company: Huntington Bancshares Inc.

Born: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Education: Degree in economics from Gettysburg College; Executive Program in Leadership from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

What was your first job? I did newspaper delivery on a three-mile rural route of about 50 customers.

If you could go back to the beginning of your career, what advice would you give yourself? Focus on actively networking and continuing to dynamically learn.

What do you think is the most important quality of a good leader and why? Good listening skills to arrive at a better understanding of where the people you are working with are coming from and an openness to their views.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? Do you have any surprising hobbies? I ride my bike and support Pelotonia with training rides. I also fly fish with my son.