Entries

International Directory of Company Histories International Directory of Company Histories Further reading

NON JS

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated

MID-19TH-CENTURY FOUNDING BY P. W. HUNTINGTON

POSTWAR END OF HUNTINGTON FAMILY LEADERSHIP

EXPANSION UNDER HUNTINGTON BANCSHARES UMBRELLA

COMMENCEMENT OF MULTISTATE BANKING OPERATIONS

ACCELERATING THE RATE OF EXPANSION

EARLY 21ST CENTURY: RESTRUCTURING UNDER NEW LEADERSHIP

PRINCIPAL SUBSIDIARIES

PRINCIPAL COMPETITORS

FURTHER READING

Huntington Center
41 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43287-0001
U.S.A.
Telephone: (614) 480-8300
Toll Free: (800) 480-2265
Fax: (614) 480-5284
Web site: http://www.huntington.com

Public Company
Founded:
1866 as P. W. Huntington & Company
Incorporated: 1905 as The Huntington National Bank of Columbus
Employees: 8,081
Total Assets: $35.33 billion (2006)
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
Ticker Symbol: HBAN
NAIC: 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies; 522110 Commercial Banking; 522120 Savings Institutions

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a regional bank holding company in the Midwest, operating principally through The Huntington National Bank. Based in Columbus, Ohio, with around $36 billion in assets in early 2007, Huntington operates more than 380 branches and nearly 1,000 ATMs in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kentucky. Huntington offers commercial and consumer banking services, mortgage banking products, automobile financing, equipment leasing, investment management, and brokerage, trust, and insurance products and services. Huntingtons rich history spans more than 140 years.

MID-19TH-CENTURY FOUNDING BY P. W. HUNTINGTON

P. W. Huntington formed the Huntington National Bank in 1866. He had to do something big. After all, P. W. was one of the most recent additions to a long line of Huntingtons who had helped shape the United States. In 1633 Simon and Margaret Huntington left Norwich, England, with their daughter and four sons to settle in the tiny town of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Simon died of smallpox during the voyage, but the family prospered, married, and multiplied. Benjamin Huntington, P. W.s great-grandfather and the descendant of one of Margarets sons, helped to start the Revolutionary War by calling the first revolutionary meeting in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1774. Another Huntington, Samuel, was president of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, signed the Declaration of Independence, and helped construct the Constitution; some historians have even referred to Samuel as the nations true first president. The Huntington after which P. W. was named, Pelatiah Webster, was a well-known political economist, author, and teacher during the late 1700s.

P. W. himself was born in 1836, went to work at the age of 14 on a whaling vessel that sailed to Russia, and began a job as a messenger in a Columbus, Ohio, bank when he was 17. After working for 13 years in the rapidly growing Columbus banking industry, P. W. started his own banking enterprise, P. W. Huntington & Company. The bank grew quickly. P. W. built a five-story building in 1878, Columbuss first skyscraper, and began to get his sons involved with the banks operations. Four of P. W.s five sons became partners during the 1890s and early 1900s, eventually assuming executive management positions. The bank was incorporated in 1905 as The Huntington National Bank of Columbus.

Huntington moved to a new, larger building in 1916 to house its burgeoning operations. P. W. died in 1918 shortly after turning the bank over to his sons. By the time of his death, however, he had built the bank into a leading financial institution in Columbus. Francis, or F. R., became president and provided active leadership for 14 years. One of F. R.s most important contributions during his short term as president was the initiation of an acquisition program; in 1923, Huntington purchased the State Savings Bank & Trust Company and the Hayden-Clinton National Bank of Columbus, thus swelling its capital base considerably.

As a result of its acquisitions, Huntington became active in the trust business. In fact, by 1930 the banks trust assets totaled more than all its other banking assets combined. F. R. died in 1928 at the age of 52, but not before constructing a large addition onto the banks existing building. The grand complex received worldwide attention when it was unveiled in 1926. Shortly thereafter, F. R.s brother, Theodore, or T. S., assumed the presidency. One year later, the Great Depression began.

Fortunately for the banks investors, T. S. maintained the strict, low-risk banking strategy during 1928 and 1929 that had been initiated by his father and followed by F. R. as well. P. W. believed in high liquidity, large cash reserves, and cautious investments. P. W. had once turned away a giant $500,000 deposit from a railroad, saying to one of his sons, We should not owe that much money to anyone. P. W. was also known for collecting sticks on his walk to work in the morning. He burned them in the companys fireplaces to save money on heating fuel. Like his father, F. R. carefully avoided the urge to invest in the plethora of speculative opportunities that arose during the Roaring Twenties.

POSTWAR END OF HUNTINGTON FAMILY LEADERSHIP

As a result of its discipline, Huntington survived the Depression while many of its industry peers shrank into oblivion. T. S. guided the company for only four years before stepping aside for health reasons. He handed the company off in 1933 to the youngest Huntington brother, B. Gwynne, or B. G. Known for his almost limitless energy, B. G. successfully guided the bank through the perilous Depression and World War II years before ceding his duties as president and becoming chairman of the board in 1949. B. G. served as chairman during Huntingtons rapid postwar expansion. His death in 1958 marked the end of 92 years of guidance for Huntington National by the men of the P. W. Huntington family. Exemplifying their leadership during that period was the motto carved into the stone in the banks main lobby, In Prosperity Be Prudent; In Adversity Be Patient.

B. G. Huntington was succeeded as president by John E. Stevenson. Stevenson, who had worked in the Columbus banking industry since 1907 and had come to Huntington by way of the 1923 mergers, was a strong and decisive leader. One of his most notable achievements as chief executive of Huntington was extending the banks reach through the addition of branches. During the early 1960s, Huntington built several branches and acquired a number of banks that it turned into Huntington branches. Stevenson also oversaw Huntingtons entry into new services, namely installment and mortgage loans and retail lending. Noted for his emphasis on loyalty, Stevenson is recorded in company annals as having told a colleague, Run the place as though you owned it, but never fool yourself into thinking that you do. Clair E. Fultz assumed Stevensons duties as president in 1963.

COMPANY PERSPECTIVES

We are a bank whose size makes people feel right at home, yet is more than large enough to provide them with access to all the resources they need. We like to think of Huntington as a local bank with national resources, and its just one of the things that makes us great.

Although the Huntington National Bank benefited from an astute, dedicated management team during its 1950s and 1960s growth years, much of its success was attributable to the healthy expansion of the local economy. Indeed, Columbuss population soared from 70,000 in 1940 to 376,000 by 1950 and to 471,000 by 1960, making it the second largest city in Ohio. The boom in housing, industry, and retail sectors created huge opportunities for Huntington to increase its lending activities and attract a steady supply of deposits. Huntington flourished. Between 1958 and 1966, in fact, its assets doubled. By the mid-1960s, the bank was separated into eight major divisions, was operating 15 offices in the Columbus area, was lending money for all types of consumer and business needs, and had implemented computer systems to reduce its escalating load of paperwork.

EXPANSION UNDER HUNTINGTON BANCSHARES UMBRELLA

The year 1966 marked Huntingtons 100th anniversary. It also signaled the start of a new era of expansion for the bank that occurred during the late 1960s and 1970s. By 1965, Huntingtons trust division had grown so large that a separate building, connected to the main bank by an underground tunnel, was created to separately house that operation. In 1966 Huntington created an international banking division that would eventually provide important financial services for foreign banks and companies. Among other accomplishments, in 1972 Huntington National became the first bank in the United States to open a 24-hour, fully automated banking office. Called the Handy Bank, the concept was soon copied around the world.

Importantly, Huntington National formed Huntington Bancshares Incorporated in 1966 as a means of extending its reach into other parts of Ohio that were previously off limits under federal banking laws. Huntington Bancshares became the parent of Huntington National Bank and subsequently conducted a string of acquisitions during the late 1960s and 1970s. Under the direction of a new president, Arthur D. Herrmann, who took office in 1975, Bancshares created new financial services divisions to place under its corporate umbrella. In 1976, for instance, the Huntington Mortgage Company was founded; by 1979 it was the largest construction lender in central Ohio. The Huntington Leasing Company was started in 1977, and doubled its assets by 1979. By 1979, in fact, Huntington Bancshares Inc. had assets of nearly $2.5 billion (up from just $400 million in 1966) and was operating 97 offices through 15 affiliated banks.

State deregulation of the banking industry in 1979 provided new opportunities for Huntington to enlarge its already ballooning organization. Under the direction of Frank A. Wobst, who became president of Huntington in 1981, Huntington National opened new branches in Kayton, Akron, and Cincinnati. Those gains were augmented by several new acquisitions by Banc-shares, including two pivotal purchases in 1982: Reeves Banking and Trust Company of Dover and, more importantly, Union Commerce Corporation of Cleveland. As a result of expansion and acquisition, Huntington Bancshares became Ohios fourth largest bank holding company in 1982, with $5 billion in assets, 176 branch offices, and operations in 94 Ohio cities.

KEY DATES

1866:
P. W. Huntington starts his own banking enterprise, P. W. Huntington & Company, in Columbus, Ohio.
1905:
Bank is incorporated as The Huntington National Bank of Columbus.
1923:
Bank completes its first acquisitions: the State Savings Bank & Trust Company and the Hayden-Clinton National Bank of Columbus.
1958:
Era of Huntington family leadership ends; John E. Stevenson becomes first nonfamily member to serve as bank president.
1966:
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is formed as a holding company for The Huntington National Bank.
1972:
Huntington National becomes the first U.S. bank to open a 24-hour, fully automated banking office.
1982:
Bank doubles in size via acquisition of Union Commerce Corporation of Cleveland.
1986:
Allowed to bank outside of Ohio for the first time following Congressional approval of interstate branch banking, Huntington acquires banks in Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.
1997:
Huntington acquires First Michigan Bank Corporation in a $1.2 billion deal.
2002:
Company divests its Florida banking operations.
2006:
Huntington acquires Unizan Financial Corp. of Dayton, Ohio, and reaches an agreement to acquire Sky Financial Group, Inc., of Bowling Green, Ohio, for $3.6 billion.

COMMENCEMENT OF MULTISTATE BANKING OPERATIONS

Huntington was again aided by deregulatory efforts in 1985, but this time at the federal level. Congress approved interstate banking regulations in that year that allowed Huntington Bancshares and other multibank holding companies to become active in other states. Huntingtons management determined that its national expansion objectives could best be achieved by establishing separate holding companies in different states. It formed Huntington Bancshares Indiana, Inc., for example, and set up similar holding companies in Kentucky and Michigan. In 1986 Huntington completed four major acquisitions of banks in those three states, and also extended operations of some of its subsidiaries into Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and several other states. All the while, Huntington continued to strengthen its presence in its core Ohio markets.

Although Huntingtons rampant growth during the 1970s and 1980s may appear to reflect a divergence from the cautious growth strategies employed by the Huntington family, it was really more symbolic of industry trends dominant during that period. Indeed, as smaller U.S. banks found themselves under increasing pressure to compete against nonbank financial institutions that were encroaching on their traditional turf, the number of banking entities in the United States plunged from about 13,000 in 1983 to less than 10,000 by 1990. Meanwhile, the number of multibank holding companies, such as Huntington Bancshares, grew from about 300 to around 1,000. Huntington did increase its exposure to risk, but it pursued a generally safe strategy during the 1980s.

Huntingtons shakiest move was its $2 billion 1982 Union Commerce acquisition. Although it doubled Huntingtons size, the purchase left the company loaded with debt that took six years to pare. Wobst and his colleagues learned from the troubled 1982 acquisition, and pursued a less aggressive growth plan throughout the remainder of the 1980s. Nevertheless, a steady stream of purchases combined with Huntingtons expansion into a range of new financial services generated strong asset, revenue, and profit growth for the holding company during most of the decade. By 1989, Huntington boasted $10.9 billion in assets and 248 offices in 11 states. Furthermore, the bank was gearing up for faster growth in the 1990s.

Although industry trends favored Huntingtons rapid rise during the latter half of the 20th century, the primary source of its success was sound management. After all, many of Huntingtons competitors had suffered irreversible defeats during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and many others had engaged in risky investment strategies that were about to damage them severely in the early 1990s. In contrast, Huntington remained comparatively healthy. It refused to be drawn into imprudent growth tactics to compete with its faster growing peers, such as industry leader Banc One. In the 1960s and 1970s they (Banc One) made a lot more money than we did, Wobst acknowledged in the September 13, 1993, issue of Forbes. If we had tried to grow as fast as they did, we wouldnt be around anymore.

The chief executives that had provided Huntingtons sound management during the 1980s represented an eclectic mix of skills and backgrounds. Wobst was born in Germany, studied law, and immigrated to the United States in 1934 when he was 24. Unable to speak English, Wobst learned the language and worked his way up to the presidency of the company after being in the United States for only 23 years. Wobst became chairman and chief executive in 1984, ceding his presidential duties to 40-year-old Zu-heir Sofia. Sofia, a native of Lebanon, came to the United States as a teenager and joined Huntingtons start-up international division in 1971. By 1984 he was practically running the company.

ACCELERATING THE RATE OF EXPANSION

During the early 1990s Wobst and Sofia sustained, and even accelerated, the expansion rate they had achieved in the 1980s. They also succeeded in strengthening the holding companys balance sheet and improving its productivity and profitability. Huntington celebrated its 125th anniversary by offering a range of new financial and banking services. It began sponsoring low-income community development loan programs, for example, and started offering cut-rate, at-home banking for lowand moderate-income customers. Huntington also hopped into the surging mutual fund and insurance markets, offering its own proprietary products. Importantly, the bank continued to expand through cautious acquisitions, including gaining a toehold in retail banking in Florida. The move to Florida provided Huntington with the ability to maintain banking relationships with its midwestern customers who retire and move to the Sunshine State.

Perhaps Huntingtons greatest accomplishment during the late 1980s and early 1990s was its development and implementation of cutting-edge information systems that were slashing its labor costs and improving service. It poured millions of dollars into, for example, a system that allowed customers to pay bills through a touch-tone telephone. It also created a service that let customers talk to staff to make investments, loan inquiries, or account transactions by phone, 24 hours per day. It worked to developed a telephone with a screen that would let its customers pay bills, book airline tickets, and access other Huntington services. In 1994 Huntington opened a $4 million operations center in West Virginia, where it planned to consolidate its account management operations. We have used technology very smartly, Sofia said in an August 1993 issue of Columbus Dispatch, and all of the sudden it is beginning to pay off for us.

Other aspects of Huntingtons operations were also paying off in the early 1990s. In 1992 Huntington Bancshares earnings surpassed $50 million before rocketing almost 50 percent in 1993 to $103 million. Furthermore, the holding companys total base of assets ballooned to $16 billion. By early 1994, its assets had risen to $18 billion, an increase of more than 60 percent since 1989. Huntington had become the 40th largest bank in the United States (by assets) by 1994, and was operating more than 450 banking and financial services offices in 17 states. Befitting the legacy of fiscal propriety initiated by P. W. Huntington in the 1860s, the companys financial health was among the best in the industry going into the mid-1990s. In addition, its stock price surged more than 25 percent during 1993, reflecting Huntingtons potential for future expansion.

In the mid-1990s Huntington substantially bolstered its presence in the Florida market. In 1995 the bank acquired three, smaller-size privately owned banks in Florida, more than doubling its asset base in that state to some $600 million. Huntington then pushed its Florida assets past the $1 billion mark in January 1996 when it acquired Peoples Bank of Lakeland, a commercial bank with ten offices in the Lakeland area and assets of approximately $550 million. Later that year, Huntington began offering its customers online banking through Huntington Web Bank. Through this service, Huntington became the first bank in the nation to offer online bill paying.

Further deregulation of the financial services sector enabled Huntington to enter the insurance sector in the mid-1990s. After moving into the insurance market in Michigan in 1995, Huntington the following year acquired Columbus-based life insurance agency Tice & Associates, Inc. Its insurance offerings widened in 1997 through the establishment of Huntington Property and Casualty Insurance Agency, Inc., and then in January 1998 the company acquired another Ohio insurance agency, Cleveland-based Pollock & Pollock, Inc.

Huntington also remained active on the bank acquisition front during this period. In Florida, the bank continued to concentrate on the central part of that state, acquiring Citi-Bancshares, Inc., of Leesburg, Florida, in February 1997 and The Bank of Winter Park that October. The former operated ten branches and had assets of $548 million, while the latter had assets of $90 million. Then in June 1998 Huntington doubled its Florida operations by purchasing 60 former Barnett Bank branches from NationsBank Corporation for $523 million. The deal strengthened Huntingtons presence in central Florida, with the addition of branches stretching from Tampa to Daytona Beach. In the meantime, Huntington completed its largest acquisition yet, the September 1997 purchase of First Michigan Bank Corporation for approximately $1.2 billion in stock. Based in Holland, First Michigan had $3.6 billion in assets and 90 banking offices concentrated in the western part of the state, particularly in Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon.

By the end of 1998, Huntington ranked as the 31st largest bank in the United States with assets of $28.3 billion and 529 branches in six states, including 187 in Ohio, 135 in Michigan, and 126 in Florida. That year, takeover activity in the banking industry subsided because of slumping stock prices, and banks began cutting costs as an alternative way of increasing profits. Late in 1998, then, Huntington launched a realignment effort aimed at yielding annual pretax savings of $125 million. The restructuring included layoffs for 1,000 employees, or about 10 percent of the workforce, the closure or sale of 39 branches, and the consolidation of loan-processing offices. Furthermore, as part of an effort to free up resources to invest in operations with higher growth potential, Huntington in October 1999 sold its credit card portfolio to Chase Manhattan Bank, resulting in a net gain of $108.5 million.

EARLY 21ST CENTURY: RESTRUCTURING UNDER NEW LEADERSHIP

Huntington Bancshares began the 21st century in growth mode, adding to its western Michigan operations the ten branches of Traverse City-based Empire Banc Corporation, which had assets of just over $500 million. This June 2000 acquisition, however, came in the midst of a very difficult year. First, the integration of First Michigan had been far from smooth. Huntington fired a number of that banks executives, upsetting many customers, who took their business elsewhere, including to bank start-ups led by some of the executives who had been terminated. Following these problems in Michigan, Huntingtons Florida operations began struggling because of a drop-off in loan originations. Then in the third quarter of 2000, the company was forced to take a $33 million charge to write down the value of its auto-leasing portfolio. All told, net income for 2000 fell 22 percent to $328 million, while the firms stock price fell sharply and by early 2001 was barely up from its level six years earlier.

Pressure from angry shareholders played at least a partial role in the appointment of a new chief executive in February 2001. Thomas E. Hoaglin, a former executive at Bank One Corporation, succeeded Wobst as CEO that month and took over the chairmanship six months later. In July 2001 Hoaglin launched a major restructuring, which involved decentralizing operations, cutting the banks dividend by 20 percent, and closing 38 branches in the Midwest. The most visible part of the plan, however, was Hoaglins refocusing on the Midwest and his reversal of his predecessors move into Florida. In September 2001 Huntington reached an agreement to sell its Florida banking business to Sun-Trust Banks, Inc., for $705 million in cash. The deal closed the following February. Later in 2002 Huntington acquired Haberer Investment Advisor, Inc., a Cincinnati-based investment advisory firm with approximately $500 million in assets under management, and LeaseNet Group, Inc., a $90 million leasing company headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. As part of the decentralization effort and also aiming to forge closer relationships with bank customers, Huntington repositioned itself as the local bank with national resources. Hoaglins initiatives paid off in 2002 when earnings were up sharply from the previous year.

Huntingtons auto-leasing business was a source of further headaches as the bank in 2003 was forced to restate its earnings for prior years three times because of faulty accounting practices that had been adopted in the late 1990s in connection with auto leases. As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation into the matter, Huntington moved to reduce its exposure to the automobile lending and leasing business by selling off more than $1.1 billion in car loans. In January 2004 Huntington reached an agreement to acquire Unizan Financial Corp., a bank based in Canton, Ohio, for $587 million in stock. Late in the year, however, Huntington was forced to put this deal on hold after the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency launched their own probes of the company, focusing on the wider issues of financial reporting and accounting procedures and corporate-governance practices. In the spring of 2005 Huntington reached separate deals with the banking regulators and the SEC. In the case of the SEC, Huntington and three current and former officers, including Hoaglin, agreed to pay more than $8.6 million in civil penalties as part of the settlement. The bank also worked for months with the banking regulators to address their concerns, a process that stretched into late 2005.

With these regulatory issues resolved, Huntington resubmitted its takeover of Unizan to the Federal Reserve Board, which approved the deal in January 2006. The deal was consummated two months later, at a final price of $610 million in stock. Huntington thus added 42 more branches to its Ohio operations, entered the Canton market for the first time, and gained market share in both Dayton and Columbus. At the time of the acquisition, Unizan had assets totaling $2.5 billion. Also in early 2006, Huntington agreed to purchase the naming rights for a new stadium in Columbus. Scheduled to open in 2008, Huntington Park was to be the new home for the Columbus Clippers, the top minor league baseball team for the New York Yankees.

With low interest rates putting pressure on earnings and the banks core midwestern market in a prolonged state of economic stagnation, Huntington faced the choice of either aggressively pursuing further acquisitions or becoming increasingly at risk of being swallowed up itself. Hoaglin signaled his preference for the former by reaching an agreement in December 2006 to acquire Sky Financial Group, Inc., for $3.6 billion in stock and cash, a deal that would rank by far as the largest in company history. Sky, which was founded in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1952 as Bowling Green Banking Co., had been an active consolidator since 1998, growing during that period from $2.2 billion in assets to $17.6 billion. Still based in Bowling Green, Sky was operating more than 330 branches and 400 ATMs in Ohio, central Indiana, northern West Virginia, southern Michigan, and western Pennsylvania. About 70 of the combined banks 710 branches were earmarked for closure as part of the integration process. In addition to gaining its first presence in Pennsylvania, Huntington by buying Sky stood to gain the number one positions in the Ohio cities of Canton, Toledo, and Youngstown and also to become the number three bank in Indianapolis. Furthermore, it would become the nations 24th largest bank, with total assets topping $54 billion. The deal was also slated to set up a succession plan at Huntington as Marty Adams, the head of Sky Financial, would become president and COO of Huntington, and he would succeed Hoaglin as CEO at the end of 2009 and as chairman in early 2011. Even before the Sky acquisition was complete, Hoaglin made it clear this would not be the companys last deal in the Midwest, telling American Banker, We have a lot of growth that wed like to see in other midwestern states.

Dave Mote

Updated, David E. Salamie

PRINCIPAL SUBSIDIARIES

The Huntington National Bank.

PRINCIPAL COMPETITORS

JPMorgan Chase & Co.; National City Corporation; Fifth Third Bancorp; Citizens Financial Group, Inc.; KeyCorp; U.S. Bancorp; Comerica Incorporated.

FURTHER READING

Amatos, Christopher A., Banker Sees Technology As Source of Profits, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, December 29, 1992.

Brenowitz, Stephanie, Huntington Names Chief Executive, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, January 19, 2001, p. 1C.

, Huntingtons Wobst Will Leave Top Job, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, April 20, 2001, p. 1E.

Burns, Adrian, Skys Chief Expected to Bring Values, Ability to Huntington, Business First-Columbus, March 2, 2007, p. A1.

De Lisser, Eleena, Huntington to Buy Florida Branches from NationsBank, Wall Street Journal, December 10, 1997, p. B12.

Engen, John, Hunter or Hunted? U.S. Banker, June 2006, pp. 2728, 30.

Foster, Pamela E., Bad Loans Prompt Huntington to Trim Jobs, Business First-Columbus, June 22, 1992, sec. 1, p. 3.

Fultz, Clair E., Huntington: A Family and a Bank, Columbus, Ohio: Huntington Bancshares Inc., 1985, 92 p.

, The Huntington: A Story of the Huntington National Bank of Columbus, New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1966, 32 p.

Hohmann, George, Huntington Banks Building $4 Million Fairmont Facility, State Journal, May 1994, Sec. 1, p. 22.

Hoke, Kathy, Shaking Up Huntington, Business First-Columbus, July 13, 2001, pp. A3, A36.

Huntington Bank Gets High Marks for Customer Service, Technology, Business First-Columbus, December 14, 1992, sec. 1, p. 6.

Huntington Celebrates 125th Anniversary with Lasting Contributions, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, February 16, 1992.

Huntington COO Sees Long-Range Plans Paying Off, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, August 9, 1993.

Matthews, Tom, Huntington, Officers, SEC Settle Case, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, June 3, 2005, p. 1H.

Miller, James P., Huntington Bancshares Plans to Slash 10% of Its Work Force to Boost Earnings, Wall Street Journal, October 15, 1998, p. A6.

Murray, Matt, Huntington Bancshares Agrees to Buy First Michigan for $897 Million in Stock, Wall Street Journal, May 6, 1997, p. A6.

Novack, Janet, A Nice, Boring Bank, Forbes, September 13, 1993, pp. 5657.

Pramik, Mike, First Year Good One for CEO, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, April 30, 2002, p. 1E.

, Huntington Agrees to Buy Unizan, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, January 28, 2004, p. 1D.

, Huntington Bank Continues on Path Blazed by Wobst, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, December 23, 2001, p. 1E.

, Huntington Says Midwest Key to Banks Turnaround, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, July 12, 2001, p. 1A.

, Huntington to Sell Florida Offices, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, September 27, 2001, p. 1B.

, Making Change, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, December 23, 2001, p. 1E.

Shingler, Dan, Huntington Does Growing with Caution, Crains Cleveland Business, February 17, 1992, p. 13.

Stammen, Ken, Two More Agencies Examining Huntington: Banks Application to Acquire Unizan Put on Back Burner, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, November 2004, p. 1E.

Sundaramoorthy, Geeta, Huntingtons Turnaround: At This Midtier, Shades of the Old Bank One, American Banker, June 1, 2004, p. 1.

Tatge, Mark, Piggy Bank, Forbes, April 30, 2001, pp. 56, 58.

Thomas Hoaglin: Huntingtons Mr. Fix-It, U.S. Banker, August 2001, p. 10.

Trowbridge, Denise, Huntington Will Buy Sky Bank, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, December 21, 2006, p. 1G.

Wahl, Melissa, Huntington Prefers Quiet Growth, Business First-Columbus, May 1, 1995, pp. 1, 59.

Wilson, Paul, Unizan Purchase Is Given Go-Ahead, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, January 27, 2006, p. 1G.

Wolf, Barnet D., Huntington Bank Ready to Make Move into Florida, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, April 12, 1998, p. 1H.

, Huntington Offers Settlement: Bank Willing to Pay $7.5 Million to SEC, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, April 26, 2005, p. 1E.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Huntington Bancshares Incorporated." International Directory of Company Histories. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Huntington Bancshares Incorporated." International Directory of Company Histories. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2690300058.html

"Huntington Bancshares Incorporated." International Directory of Company Histories. 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2690300058.html

Huntington Bancshares Inc.

Huntington Bancshares Inc.

Huntington Center
Columbus, Ohio 43287
U.S.A.
(614) 476-8300
Fax: (614) 480-5485

Public Company
Incorporated:
1905 as the Huntington National Bank of
Columbus
Employees: 8,395
Sales: $1.1 billion
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
SICs: 6712 Bank Holding Companies; 6021 National
Commercial Banks; 6022 State Commercial Banks; 6035
Federal Savings Institutions

Huntington Bancshares Inc. is one of the 40 largest multibank holding companies in the United States. With about $16.5 billion in assets in 1994, Huntington operated 350 offices in eight states, mostly in Ohio and other midwestern states. It also provided various financial services through several subsidiaries. Huntingtons rich history spans more than 125 years.

P. W. Huntington formed the Huntington National Bank in 1866. He had to do something big. After all, P. W. was one of the most recent additions to a long line of Huntingtons that had helped shape the United States of America. In 1633 Simon and Margaret Huntington left Norwich, England, with their daughter and four sons to settle in the tiny town of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Simon died of smallpox during the voyage, but the family prospered, married, and multiplied. Benjamin Huntington, P. W.s great grandfather and the descendent of one of Margarets sons, helped to start the Revolutionary War by calling the first revolutionary meeting in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1774. Another Huntington, Samuel, was president of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, signed the Declaration of Independence, and helped construct the Constitution; some historians have even referred to Samuel as the nations true first president. The Huntington after which P. W. was named, Pelatiah Webster, was a well-known political economist, author, and teacher during the late 1700s.

P. W. himself was born 1836, went to work at the age of 14 on a whaling vessel that sailed to Russia, and began a job as a messenger in a Columbus, Ohio, bank when he was 17. After working for 13 years in the rapidly growing Columbus banking industry, P. W. started his own banking enterprise, P. W. Huntington & Company. The bank grew quickly. P. W. built a five-story building in 1878, Columbus first skyscraper, and began to get his sons involved with the banks operations. Four of P. W.s five sons became partners during the 1890s and early 1900s, eventually assuming executive management positions. The bank was incorporated in 1905 as the Huntington National Bank of Columbus.

Huntington moved to a new, larger building in 1916 to house its burgeoning operations. P. W. died in 1918 shortly after turning the bank over to his sons. By the time of his death, however, he had built the bank into a leading financial institution in Columbus. Francis, or F. R., became president and provided active leadership for fourteen years. One of F.R.s most important contributions during his short term as president was the initiation of an acquisition program; in 1923, Huntington purchased State Savings Bank and Trust Co. and the Hayden Clinton National Bank, thus swelling its capital base considerably.

As a result of its acquisitions, Huntington became active in the trust business. In fact, by 1930 the banks trust assets totaled more than all its other banking assets combined. F. R. died in 1928 at the age of 52, but not before constructing a large addition onto the banks existing building. The grand complex received world-wide attention when it was unveiled in 1926. Shortly thereafter, F. R.s brother, Theodore, or T. S., assumed the presidency. One year later, the Great Depression began.

Fortunately for the banks investors, T. S. maintained the strict, low-risk banking strategy during 1928 and 1929 that had been initiated by his father and followed by F. R. P. W. believed in high liquidity, large cash reserves, and cautious investments. P. W. had once turned away a giant $500,000 deposit from a railroad, saying to one of his sons, We should not owe that much money to anyone. P. W. was also known for collecting sticks on his walk to work in the morningHe burned them in the companys fireplaces to save money on heating fuel. Like his father, F. R. carefully avoided the urge to invest in the plethora of speculative opportunities that arose during the Roaring Twenties.

As a result of its discipline, Huntington survived the Depression while many of its industry peers shrank into oblivion. T. S. guided the company for only four years before stepping aside for health reasons. He handed the company off in 1933 to the youngest Huntington brother, B. Gwynne, or B. G. Known for his almost limitless energy, B. G. successfully guided the bank through the perilous Depression and World War II years before ceding his duties as president and becoming chairman of the board in 1949. B. G. served as chairman during Huntingtons rapid postwar expansion. His death in 1958 marked the end of 92 years of guidance for Huntington National by the men of the P. W. Huntington family. Exemplifying their leadership during that period was the motto carved into the stone in the banks main lobby, In Prosperity Be Prudent; In Adversity Be Patient.

B. G. Huntington was succeeded as president by John E. Stevenson. Stevenson, who had worked in the Columbus banking industry since 1907 and had come to Huntington by way of the 1923 mergers, was a strong and decisive leader. One of his most notable achievements as chief executive of Huntington was extending the banks reach through the addition of branches. During the early 1960s, Huntington built several branches and acquired a number of banks that it turned into Huntington branches. Stevenson also oversaw Huntingtons entry into new services, namely installment and mortgage loans and retail lending. Noted for his emphasis on loyalty, Stevenson is recorded in company annals as having told a colleague, Run the place as though you owned it, but never fool yourself into thinking that you do. Clair E. Fultz assumed Stevensons duties as president in 1963.

Although the Huntington National Bank benefited from an astute, dedicated management team during its 1950s and 1960s growth years, much of its success was attributable to the healthy expansion of the local economy. Indeed, Columbus population soared from 70,000 in 1940 to a whopping 376,000 by 1950 and to 471,000 by 1960, making it the second largest city in Ohio. The boom in housing, industry, and retail sectors created huge opportunities for Huntington to increase its lending activities and attract a steady supply of deposits. Huntington flourished. Between 1958 and 1966, in fact, its assets doubled. By the mid-1960s, the bank was separated into eight major division, was operating 15 offices in the Columbus area, was lending money for all types of consumer and business needs, and had implemented computer systems to reduce its escalating load of paperwork.

1966 marked Huntingtons 100th anniversary. It also signaled the start of a new era of expansion for the bank that occurred during the late 1960s and 1970s. By 1965, Huntingtons trust division had grown so large that a separate building, connected to the main bank by an underground tunnel, was created to separately house that operation. In 1966, Huntington created an international banking division that would eventually provide important financial services for foreign banks and companies. Among other accomplishments, in 1972 Huntington National became the first bank in the United States to open a 24-hour, fully automated banking office. Called the Handy Bank, the concept was soon copied around the world.

Importantly, Huntington National formed Huntington Bancshares Inc. in 1966 as a means of extending its reach into other parts of Ohio that were previously off limits under federal banking laws. Huntington Bancshares became the parent of Huntington National Bank and subsequently conducted a string of acquisitions during the late 1960s and 1970s. Under the direction of a new president, Arthur D. Herrmann, who took office in 1975, Bancshares created new financial services divisions to place under its corporate umbrella. In 1976, for instance, the Huntington Mortgage Company was foundedby 1979 it was the largest construction lender in central Ohio. The Huntington Leasing Company was started in 1977, and doubled its assets by 1979. By 1979, in fact, Huntington Bancshares Inc. had assets of nearly $2.5 billion (up from just $400 million in 1966) and was operating 97 offices through 15 affiliated banks.

State deregulation of the banking industry in 1979 provided new opportunities for Huntington to enlarge its already ballooning organization. Under the direction of Frank A. Wobst, who became president of Huntington in 1981, Huntington National opened new branches in Kayton, Akron, and Cincinnati. Those gains were augmented by several new acquisitions by Bancshares, including two pivotal purchases in 1982: Reeves Banking and Trust Company of Dover and, more importantly, Union Commerce Corporation of Cleveland. As a result of expansion and acquisition, Huntington Bancshares became Ohios fourth largest bank holding company in 1982, with $5 billion in assets, 176 branch offices, and operations in 94 Ohio cities.

Huntington was again aided by deregulatory efforts in 1985, but this time at the federal level. Congress approved interstate banking regulations in that year that allowed Huntington Bancshares and other multibank holding companies to become active in other states. Huntingtons management determined that its national expansion objectives could best be achieved by establishing separate holding companies in different states. It formed Huntington Bancshares Indiana, Inc., for example, and set up similar holding companies in Kentucky and Michigan. Huntington completed four major acquisitions of banks in those three states, and also extended operations of some of its subsidiaries into Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and several other states. All the while, Huntington continued to strengthen its presence in its core Ohio markets.

Although Huntingtons rampant growth during the 1970s and 1980s may appear to reflect a divergence from the cautious growth strategies employed by the Huntington family, it was really more symbolic of industry trends dominant during that period. Indeed, as smaller U.S. banks found themselves under increasing pressure to compete against nonbank financial institutions that were encroaching on their traditional turf, the number of banking entities in the United States plunged from about 13,000 in 1983 to less than 10,000 by 1990. Meanwhile, the number of multibank holding companies, like Huntington Bancshares, grew from about 300 to around 1,000. Huntington did increase its exposure to risk, but it pursued a generally safe strategy during the 1980s.

Huntingtons shakiest move was its $2 billion 1982 Union Commerce acquisition. Although it doubled Huntingtons size, the purchase left the company loaded with debt that took six years to pare. Wobst and his colleagues learned from the troubled 1982 acquisition, and pursued a less aggressive growth plan throughout the remainder of the 1980s. Nevertheless, a steady stream of purchases combined with the Huntingtons expansion into a range of new financial services generated strong asset, revenue, and profit growth for the holding company during most of the decade. By 1989, Huntington boasted $10.9 billion in assets and 248 offices in 11 states. Furthermore, the bank was gearing up for faster growth in the 1990s.

Although industry trends favored Huntingtons rapid rise during the latter half of the 1900s, the primary source of its success was sound management. After all, many of Huntingtons competitors had suffered irreversible defeats during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and many others had engaged in risky investment strategies that were about to damage them severely in the early 1990s. In contrast, Huntington remained comparatively healthy. It refused to be drawn into imprudent growth tactics to compete with its faster growing peers, such as industry leader Banc One. In the 1960s and 1970s they (Banc One) made a lot more money than we did..., Wobst acknowledged in the September 13, 1993 issue of Forbes. If we had tried to grow as fast as they did, we wouldnt be around anymore.

The chief executives that had provided Huntingtons sound management during the 1980s represented an eclectic mix of skills and backgrounds. Wobst was born in Germany, studied law, and immigrated to the United States in 1934 when he was 24. Unable to speak English, Wobst learned the language and worked his way up to the presidency of the company after being in the United States for only 23 years. Wobst became chairman and chief executive in 1984, ceding his presidential duties to 40-year-old Zuheir Sofia. Sofia, a native of Lebanon, came to the United States as a teenager and joined Huntingtons start-up international division in 1971. By 1984 he was practically running the company.

During the early 1990s Wobst and Sofia sustained, and even accelerated, the expansion rate they had achieved in the 1980s. They also succeeded in strengthening the holding companys balance sheet and improving its productivity and profitability. Huntington celebrated its 125th anniversary by offering a range of new financial and banking services. It began sponsoring low-income community development loan programs, for example, and started offering cut-rate, at-home banking for low- and moderate-income customers. Huntington also hopped into the surging mutual fund and insurance markets, offering its own proprietary products. Importantly, the bank continued to expand through cautious acquisitions.

Perhaps Huntingtons greatest accomplishment during the late 1980s and early 1990s was its development and implementation of cutting-edge information systems that were slashing its labor costs and improving service. It poured millions of dollars into, for example, a system that allowed customers to pay bills through a touch-tone telephone. It also created a service that let customers talk to staff to make investments, loan inquiries, or account transactions by phone, 24 hours per day. It worked to developed a telephone with a screen that would let its customers pay bills, book airline tickets, and access other Huntington services. In 1994, Huntington opened a $4 million operations center in West Virginia, where it planned to consolidate its account management operations. We have used technology very smartly, Sofia said in an August 1993 issue of Columbus Dispatch, and all of the sudden it is beginning to pay off for us.

Other aspects of Huntingtons operations were also paying off in the early 1990s. In 1992, Huntington Bancshares earnings surpassed $50 million before rocketing almost 50 percent in 1993 to $103 million. Furthermore, the holding companys total base of assets ballooned to $16 billion. By early 1994, its assets had risen to a staggering $18 billion, a rise of more than 60 percent since 1989. Huntington had become the 40th largest bank in the United States (by assets) by 1994, and was operating more than 450 banking and financial services offices in 17 states. Befitting the legacy of fiscal propriety initiated by P. W. Huntington in the 1860s, the companys financial health was among the best in the industry going into the mid-1990s. In addition, its stock price surged more than 25 percent during 1993, reflecting Huntingtons potential for future expansion.

Principal Subsidiaries

The Huntington National Bank.

Further Reading

Amatos, Christopher A., Banker Sees Technology as Source of Profits, Columbus Dispatch, December 29, 1992, Sec. BUS; Huntington COO Sees Long-Range Plans Paying Off, Columbus Dispatch, August 9, 1993, Sec. BUS.

Form 10-K: Huntington Bancshares Inc., Columbus, Ohio: Huntington Bancshares, Inc., 1994.

Foster, Pamela E., Bad Loans Prompt Huntington to Trim Jobs, Business First-Columbus, June 22, 1992, Sec. 1, p. 3;

Huntington Bank Gets High Marks for Customer Service, Technology, Business First-Columbus, December 14, 1992, Sec. 1, p. 6.

Fultz, Clair E., Huntington: A Family & a Bank, Columbus, Ohio: Huntington Bancshares Inc., 1989.

Hohmann, George, Huntington Banks Building $4 Million Fairmont Facility, State Journal, May 1994, Sec. 1, p. 22.

Huntington Celebrates 125th Anniversary with Lasting Contributions, Columbus Dispatch, February 16, 1992, Sec. BUS.

Novack, Janet, A Nice, Boring Bank, Forbes, September 13, 1993, pp. 56-57.

Phillips, Cynthia, The Huntington National Bank Introduces Visa Check Card as the New Shape of Checking, PR Newswire, April 4, 1994.

Dave Mote

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Huntington Bancshares Inc." International Directory of Company Histories. 1995. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Huntington Bancshares Inc." International Directory of Company Histories. 1995. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2841500068.html

"Huntington Bancshares Inc." International Directory of Company Histories. 1995. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2841500068.html

Facts and information from other sites