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Economy and Business

FirstMerit continues its success with third quarter profit increase
The bank has had profitiable quarters for more than 13 years

Ozie Ikuenobe

Akron-based FirstMerit saw its profits increase by 9 percent in the third quarter over the same period a year ago. And its streak of profitable quarters has now lasted more than 13 years, including during the worst days of the recession.

Terry McEvoy is a banking analyst for Oppenheimer. He says FirstMerit has stayed successful for so long by reaching out to its customers when other banks couldn’t.

McEvoy on profit increase

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“The effort during the downturn to be there for their customers--continue to provide credit was unlike some of their competitors that were focused internally on dealing with problems, preserving capital—raising capital. And customers, both businesses and consumers, I think will remember who was there for them when they needed them most.”

But the profits have had a cost. FirstMerit has cut staff by about 300 and has closed some Northeast Ohio branches. The company is buying Citizens Republic Bancorp of Michigan, which will give FirstMerit branches in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. 

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