* Bank to open branches in more than 100 Ohio supermarkets
* Expects expansion to create about 500 jobs
* Shares down 1.7 pct
NEW YORK, Sept 29 Huntington Bancshares Inc
(HBAN.O) said it will open branches in more than 100 Giant
Eagle supermarkets in Ohio, an expansion that it hopes will
give it the most branches of any bank in the state.
The new branches will be opened over the next couple of
years, giving the bank almost 500 branches in Ohio, Chief
Executive Steve Steinour said in an interview.
Having branches within Giant Eagle [GIAEG.UL] stores means
thousands of shoppers will walk past Huntington branches each
week, he said.
"This makes us much more convenient," Steinour said.
The branches will be open seven days a week, with extended
hours. Huntington, which employs about 11,000 people, said it
expects the expansion will add about 500 jobs in Ohio.
Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington, which has just over $50
billion in assets, has been looking to expand in Ohio for some
time, Steinour said.
An acquisition is still a possibility, but the supermarket
branches are a cost-effective way to grow, he said. The bank
can open 10 supermarket branches for the cost of one standard
branch, he said.
Huntington may consider rolling out similar branches
outside Ohio, he added. The company had more than 600 branches
in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and
Kentucky at the end of the second quarter, according to a
filing with regulators.
Huntington shares were down 10 cents at $5.62 in morning
trading. The shares have climbed more than 50 percent this
(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by John Wallace)