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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Fifth Third Bank's unusual name

Fifth Third Bank's history can be traced back to 1858, when the Bank of the Ohio Valley opened in Cincinnati.

The Third National Bank organized five years later in 1863, and in 1871, the younger bank acquired the older one, beginning a 130-year history of banking acquisitions and mergers, with numerous smaller banks being absorbed and renamed.

Fifth Third's unusual name is the result of the 1908 merger of two banks, The Fifth National Bank and The Third National Bank, to become The Fifth Third National Bank of Cincinnati. Because the merger took place during a period when prohibitionist ideas were gaining popularity, it was believed that "Fifth Third" was better than "Third Fifth," which could be construed as a reference to three "fifths" of alcohol. The name went through several changes over the years, until in 1969, the name was changed to Fifth Third Bank.