Fifth Third begins expansion of insurance business

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Fifth Third Bank is pressing ahead with an initiative to bolster its insurance business.

The Cincinnati-based bank on Monday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire R.G. McGraw, a local insurance agency with a strong focus on personal and commercial insurance.

The acquisition will allow the bank to expand its insurance capability and provide customer with "best-in-class risk management solutions," Howard McClure, the bank's president of Insurance Services, said in the announcement.
The bank did not disclose the terms of the deal. It is expected to close in early March.

The transaction will be the bank's first purchase of an insurance company since McClure joined the bank in January 2016 to grow the business. He was charged with evaluating alternatives to expanding the bank's insurance offerings and build out a "more holistic offering," a company spokesman said.

Prior to McClure's arrival, insurance was delivered through Fifth Third Securities, the bank's retail brokerage arm.

The acquisition is part of a broader three-year plan to increase fee income and "deliver strong, consistent returns through longer-term economic cycles," the bank said.

Fifth Third was attracted to R.G. McGraw because its clients and prospects aligned with Fifth Third's wealth and asset management as well as commercial banking clients. The two also shared similar client service approaches, according to the bank.

Fifth Third generated $100 million in revenue from its wealth and asset management business in the fourth quarter of 2016, down 2% year-over-year, according to the bank's latest earnings release. It did not break out insurance revenue and declined to provide figures that were outside its public filings.

R.G. McGraw is based in Cincinnati. It provides property and casualty insurance and risk management analysis for both personal lines and commercial lines across a range of industries, it said. The agency displayed photos of 13 employees on its website.

"We are excited to join Fifth Third and continue to deliver quality service and coverage solutions to enhance risk management and asset protection for clients our firm and Fifth Third," Michael McGraw, president and CEO of R.G. McGraw, said in a statement.

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Insurance M&A Fifth Third Fifth Third Bancorp R. G. McGraw