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Rivals mostly silent on OSU banking deal

Elizabeth Kerns / Lantern photographer

Ohio State’s new $125 million partnership with Huntington Bank will improve campus structures, but ultimately shut out every other banking opportunity on campus.

OSU and Huntington announced the partnership Thursday afternoon in the RPAC Amphitheater. The two organizations agreed on a $125 million deal where Huntington can establish bank branches on campus and OSU can use $25 million for campus investment.

With the increased services on campus, Huntington will be looking to improve the banking experience with students, faculty and staff. Currently, however, OSU also has a relationship with U.S. Bancorp, where campus holds several U.S. Bank ATMs and has a branch located in the Ohio Union.

Lisa Clark, assistant vice president of media relations at U.S. Bancorp, said she plans to continue doing business with OSU students, despite OSU’s new relation with Huntington.

“For us it is going to be business as usual,” Clark said. “We’ve actually had a fairly good level of success with the branch that we opened there. And I think the reason why is that when students come to OSU, they come from all over.”

U.S. Bank has a contract to keep its branch in the Ohio Union until 2015, and with contract renewals it could remain on campus until 2032.

U.S. Bank is the fourth-largest branch network in the country, and five times larger than Huntington, Clark said. U.S. Bank also has more than 3,000 branches around the country.

Clark believes that U.S. Bank business will not be affected by the new partnership because students will continue to bank with U.S. Bank.

“We believe that students are smart,” Clark said. “They look for the best deal for their loans and the rest of their money and what’s most convenient for them. You want to shop for an account that best meets your needs.”

In addition to U.S. Bank and Huntington, four other banks have a presence on campus, including Chase and Fifth Third Bank. Geoff Chatas, university CFO, said that once these contracts are up, OSU will not renew them.

Representatives from Chase declined to comment. The Lantern attempted to contact Fifth Third representatives with no response.

Adam Wintz, a first-year in art education, is skeptical about the partnership.

“The things they are doing with the money sound worthwhile at the most part, but I’m not sure about it,” Wintz said. “As long as it is used wisely, it’s a good thing for Ohio State.”

Faculty, students and Huntington Bank employees listened to university representatives President E. Gordon Gee and Vice President of Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston; president, chairman and CEO of Huntington Bank Stephen Steinour; Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman; and Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther speak of their excitement about the new partnership and how the money will benefit students and the campus.

“This is truly an outstanding day for the Ohio State University and our students,” Adams-Gaston said.

Gee said the new partnership is a “celebrity wedding and we’re going to make that the case.”

OSU’s partnership with Huntington will give students possible career opportunities on campus. Huntington will offer to OSU students 20 internship positions with top bank executives as well as host networking events and speakers. Huntington will also offer to students financial literacy education, Adams-Gaston said.

Students are also given the option to open accounts with Huntington and have the choice to use their BuckID as a debit card, Adams-Gaston said.

Steinour said this multi-million dollar deal is “unique” to OSU.

“This is a really significant day for all of us at Huntington,” Steinour said. “Nothing like this has been done before in the country. This is innovative and new.”

Of the $125 million, $25 million will be used for scholarships and academic programming and $10 million of that will finance updates to classrooms and technology, according to the university-wide email sent out by Adams-Gaston and Gee.

Gee also said the partnership will enhance and enrich the student experience by educating students, and enrich the lives of Ohioans through scholarships and academic programs, and sustain alumni efforts and east-of-High Street projects.

“It demonstrates more than anything we could possibly imagine,” Gee said. “This university is about creating partnerships and opportunities.”

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