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   NATIONAL NEWS
Fifth Third Bank Employs No Blacks in Pittsburgh
By: Deborah Todd
Special to the NNPA from the New Pittsburgh Courier
Originally posted 3/12/2006


PITTSBURGH (NNPA) – While Fifth Third Bank describes itself as a “diverse workforce of more than 22,000 dedicated and talented individuals,” on its Website, such diversity has yet to reach its Pennsylvania branches.

Representatives from Fifth Third’s main office have confirmed that none of the bank’s five Pennsylvania branches, located in downtown Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, Wexford, Murrysville and Cranberry, employ any Black people.

Janet Petro, a media relations associate at Fifth Third, said the reason that none of the approximately 80 employees at the bank’s Western Pennsylvania locations are Black is mostly because of the way employees were brought on staff.

“We had what is called a de-novo entry into this market, which means we had no presence at all in the area, so we offered relocation to current employees in other areas within the bank,” said Petro. “A lot of employees came from the banks in Eastern Ohio.”

In spite of the bank’s equal opportunity employer statement, which says employees and senior managers will “ensure that the equal employment opportunity policy provides optimal results,” the bank made no extra efforts to bring Black employees to an area with a population that is more than 30 percent Black.

Petro admits that there is no real explanation as to why Blacks from within the company did not relocate, but says the bank has also made efforts to hire Black candidates externally.

''We have interviewed several minority candidates and continue to speak to them, (but) it’s a matter of timing because we didn’t have any positions open,'' added Pero.

Petro said that although the initial recruiting effort was not geared toward race, the bank has plans to hire minority candidates in the Pennsylvania branches this year. She also said the bank would seek out businesses and community organizations in Pittsburgh that would introduce them to qualified candidates.

“A plan is currently in place. (While) there are no current open positions as we open new banking centers we will fill the positions accordingly,” said Petro. “We are also looking for partners to help us recruit.”

The only reason we don’t have anyone hired yet is because we haven’t matched the appropriate candidate with the appropriate job skill at this time. We have to have positions open to hire someone.”


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