Fifth Third to close 44 Chicago-area branches in July after completing MB bank merger

Fifth Third Bank is closing 44 branches in the Chicago area next month in the wake of its $4.7 billion acquisition of MB Financial.

Nearly 1 in 5 locations of the combined bank will close on July 9 and 10, Fifth Third spokesman Larry Magnesen said Monday, a cost-saving move aimed at eliminating branch overlap.

Customers of the closing branches, which include both Fifth Third and former MB locations, have already been notified, with 26 of the 44 locations less than a mile from another branch, Magnesen said.

“We picked the ones that were better, newer, with better lobby space, better parking,” Magnesen said.

The acquisition of Chicago-based MB Financial bolstered Fifth Third as a middle-market business bank, and put nearly 240 Chicago-area branches under the same corporate umbrella in March. Last month, the MB name was supplanted by Fifth Third at its 91 former locations.

The merger, which was announced in May 2018, was projected to save $255 million in annual operating costs.

In April, Fifth Third notified the state it was eliminating about 500 Chicago-area workers due to the MB merger. Most of layoffs were MB corporate back office and administrative employees. The total also included a “small number of customer-facing positions” at the branches that will be closing next month, Magnesen said.