Ultra Foods stores in Highland and Lansing will house in-store Fifth Third Bank branches by early next year. The deal between Fifth Third Bank Chicago and Ultra Foods parent Strack & Van Til calls for a total of 10 in-store branches, including eight in Ultra Foods stores in Chicago suburbs.
"The partnership was a natural fit," Fifth Third Bank Vice President Jonathan Choe said Friday.
"Ultra Foods was looking for a single banking partner and we were looking to expand our presence and reach new customers," he added.
The bank branch will be a first for the Highland Ultra Foods store, and Fifth Third will replace a bank that vacated space in the Lansing store, Strack & Van Til President Dave Wilkinson said.
The arrangement provides customers "an opportunity to shop and take care of banking in one stop," Wilkinson said.
The new in-store branches will complement existing Fifth Third locations, said Craig Pratt, the bank's president of marketing for northern Indiana.
Fifth Third operates branches throughout Lake and Porter counties in Indiana and in the Chicago area in Illinois.
Fifth Third also is opening new standalone branches in Hammond, Crown Point and Schererville, Pratt said. "The fact is, we are growing in Northwest Indiana."
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank operates its branded Bank Marts in Ohio, but the opening of banking centers within grocery stores is a new proposition in the bank's Chicago region, officials said.
Customers will be able to open accounts, secure loans and seek financial advice daily and on weekends at the in-store branches.
The first two centers are slated to open in Calumet Park and Kankakee by the end of the year.
Branches in Highland, Lansing, Downers Grove, Hanover Park, Logan Square, Lombard, Brighton Park and Wrightwood will open by spring.
The Strack & Van Til chain operates stores carrying the Strack & Van Til and Ultra Foods names in communities throughout Northwest Indiana and in parts of the Chicago area.