GR native Mary Tuuk to head Fifth Third Bank Western Michigan

November 20, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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Grand Rapids native Mary Tuuk will assume the full-time role of president of Fifth Third Bank Western Michigan in January, according to an announcement from Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati.

She will be the permanent replacement for John Bultema, who was named last spring to head the small business banking segment in Fifth Third’s 12 states stretching from the Midwest to Florida.

Fifth Third Bancorp, the holding company for Fifth Third Bank, has $115 billion in assets and operates 15 affiliates in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. The Western Michigan affiliate covers most of Michigan with the exception of the Detroit region.

The Western Michigan affiliate of Fifth Third, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids, has 134 locations. Both the southeast and western Michigan affiliates and Fifth Third Bancorp employ 3,690 people throughout Michigan.

Tuuk is currently transitioning from her role as executive vice president and chief risk officer of Fifth Third Bancorp. In that role, she has responsibility for the enterprise risk management strategy of the corporation, including credit risk, market risk, operational risk, compliance risk, enterprise risk programs and governance, risk strategies and analytics.

Tuuk has worked in Cincinnati for the past eight years. She told the Business Journal she has been in banking for 15 years, having started with then-Old Kent Bank, which became part of Fifth Third in 2001.

She received bachelor’s degrees in business and music from Calvin College. She then earned a master’s degree in business administration and a juris doctorate from Indiana University.

While with Old Kent Bank, Tuuk served as senior vice president, corporate secretary and chief legal counsel.

Tuuk said the banking industry is “much more future-oriented than it was a couple of years ago,” referring to the financial crisis at the onset of the recession, when some banks began failing.

“I look at the situation today and I think that our worst times are behind us,” she said.

She added, however, that although the country is now in “this state of a slower pace of economic recovery,” it’s definitely a more positive pace than a couple of years ago.

When asked about the very low interest rates earned by savings and checking accounts and certificates of deposit, Tuuk said that is “a reflection of the state of our economy and also a reflection, in part, of … the pace of economic recovery that we find ourselves in right now.”

Tuuk said the increased regulation of the banking industry, which is still in various stages of rule-making and implementation and most visible in the form of the Dodd Frank Act, “makes the overall operating environment a more complex one.”

However, Tuuk said she has a “very positive view of Fifth Third’s future because we’ve got a strong financial condition that others in the industry can’t necessarily match. It goes back to the approach that Fifth Third took in the earlier years of the crisis to be very aggressive in dealing with our problem proactively, and making sure that we were very forward-thinking in terms of how we position the bank for the future.”

She said those “aggressive activities” include being “very transparent in identifying the biggest challenges in our credit portfolio, or our loan portfolio. We did a lot of stress testing up front to understand what the most challenging parts of those portfolios were, so that we could make the appropriate decisions and ensure we had adequate capital for the company to withstand what those credit losses would be. We raised capital in a number of different ways. We also sold some of our problem assets at an early stage in the crisis. That insured a much stronger balance sheet for us today.”

She added that Fifth Third Bank’s “overall capital levels are very strong.”

From 2008 through 2011, Tuuk was named each year as one of the “25 Women to Watch in Banking” by U.S. Banker magazine. She is a member of the board of directors of Fifth Third Bank-Central Ohio and a member of the advisory board of Fifth Third Bancorp’s Women’s Network.

Tuuk serves on the board of directors for the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, and she has sung as a professional soprano with the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble. She also is a member of the Michigan Bar Association.

She will be the permanent replacement for John Bultema, who was named last spring to head the small business banking segment in Fifth Third’s 12 states stretching from the Midwest to Florida.

Fifth Third Bancorp, the holding company for Fifth Third Bank, has $115 billion in assets and operates 15 affiliates in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. The Western Michigan affiliate covers most of Michigan with the exception of the Detroit region.

The Western Michigan affiliate of Fifth Third, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids, has 134 locations. Both the southeast and western Michigan affiliates and Fifth Third Bancorp employ 3,690 people throughout Michigan.

Tuuk is currently transitioning from her role as executive vice president and chief risk officer of Fifth Third Bancorp. In that role, she has responsibility for the enterprise risk management strategy of the corporation, including credit risk, market risk, operational risk, compliance risk, enterprise risk programs and governance, risk strategies and analytics.

Tuuk has worked in Cincinnati for the past eight years. She told the Business Journal she has been in banking for 15 years, having started with then-Old Kent Bank, which became part of Fifth Third in 2001.

She received bachelor’s degrees in business and music from Calvin College. She then earned a master’s degree in business administration and a juris doctorate from Indiana University.

While with Old Kent Bank, Tuuk served as senior vice president, corporate secretary and chief legal counsel.

Tuuk said the banking industry is “much more future-oriented than it was a couple of years ago,” referring to the financial crisis at the onset of the recession, when some banks began failing.

“I look at the situation today and I think that our worst times are behind us,” she said.

She added, however, that although the country is now in “this state of a slower pace of economic recovery,” it’s definitely a more positive pace than a couple of years ago.

When asked about the very low interest rates earned by savings and checking accounts and certificates of deposit, Tuuk said that is “a reflection of the state of our economy and also a reflection, in part, of … the pace of economic recovery that we find ourselves in right now.”

Tuuk said the increased regulation of the banking industry, which is still in various stages of rule-making and implementation and most visible in the form of the Dodd Frank Act, “makes the overall operating environment a more complex one.”

However, Tuuk said she has a “very positive view of Fifth Third’s future because we’ve got a strong financial condition that others in the industry can’t necessarily match. It goes back to the approach that Fifth Third took in the earlier years of the crisis to be very aggressive in dealing with our problem proactively, and making sure that we were very forward-thinking in terms of how we position the bank for the future.”

She said those “aggressive activities” include being “very transparent in identifying the biggest challenges in our credit portfolio, or our loan portfolio. We did a lot of stress testing up front to understand what the most challenging parts of those portfolios were, so that we could make the appropriate decisions and ensure we had adequate capital for the company to withstand what those credit losses would be. We raised capital in a number of different ways. We also sold some of our problem assets at an early stage in the crisis. That insured a much stronger balance sheet for us today.”

She added that Fifth Third Bank’s “overall capital levels are very strong.”

From 2008 through 2011, Tuuk was named each year as one of the “25 Women to Watch in Banking” by U.S. Banker magazine. She is a member of the board of directors of Fifth Third Bank-Central Ohio and a member of the advisory board of Fifth Third Bancorp’s Women’s Network.

Tuuk serves on the board of directors for the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, and she has sung as a professional soprano with the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble. She also is a member of the Michigan Bar Association.

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