September 29, 2010 / 3:46 PM / 7 years ago

Huntington plans branches in Ohio supermarkets

* 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 (Reuters) - 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 year. (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by John Wallace)

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