''No-guns'' Fifth Third profit falls 6 percent in first quarter

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Ohio-based Fifth Third Bancorp has announced that its first-quarter profit fell 6 percent.

According to the newspaper, the financial services company said its quarterly income declined to $405 million, or 72 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31 from $430 million, or 75 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting the company to report a profit per share of 73 cents, according to the Dispatch.

Robberies at Fifth Third branches have filled the headlines in 2004 and early 2005, after the bank posted signs ordering customers with Ohio Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) to stay away when armed.

(The photo at right, which appeared on the front page of the Willoughby News Herald in June, depicts a law enforcement agent dusting for fingerprints next to a "no-guns" sign at a Fifth Third bank.)

When OhioCCW first became law, Jeff Quayle, a senior vice president and general counsel at the Ohio Bankers
League, told the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette the association did not lobby for banks to be included on the list
because what is appropriate in one area of the state might not work in another.

He also said he didn't think a sign would do much to stop a robber.

"We figured that armed robbers haven't been getting licenses so far, so I don't
think having a license or not having a license is going to affect crime. And I
don't think a sign is going to deter a robber."

Quite. So why has this been so hard for the management of Fifth Third Bancorp to figure out?

Although we are not familiar with Fifth Third's insurance policies, several other Ohio-based banks have reported that their insurance coverage to compensate them for robberies of currency do not kick in unless the amount stolen exceeds $100,000.00. All other robberies come straight off the bottom line. It is not immediately clear from Fifth Third's announcement how much of an impact robberies are having on their bottom line, but it is certainly clear the robberies aren't boosting it.

Related Stories:
''No-guns'' Fifth Third bank earnings down 60%; competitors' up

Fifth Third Bank: Lost another loan to common sense!

OFCC uncovers report of Fifth Third customer being robbed on exit from bank

Fifth Third: Signs not posted to keep criminals out; They want to keep YOU out

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