Huntington Introduces Asterisk-Free Checking™ as Part of the Company's "Fair Play" Approach to Banking

No strings, no catches, no gotchas...Huntington's straight-forward, new consumer checking features a free checking account with free ID Theft Resolution Services and 24-Hour Grace®

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In direct response to customer feedback, veering sharply from most in the industry, Huntington (NASDAQ: HBAN; today announced Asterisk-Free Checking as the next phase of its "Fair Play" banking approach.  

The ground-breaking Asterisk-Free Checking is free to open, has no monthly checking maintenance fee, no minimum balance and no check or debit card usage requirements – and it includes a linked savings account, free ID Theft Resolution Services, free debit card usage and 24-Hour Grace.  

"We asked our customers what they wanted, we listened to their input and responded with a simpler, more straight-forward approach we call 'Fair Play' banking," explained Huntington CEO Steve Steinour.  "As we did with last year's introduction of 24-Hour Grace, which gives our consumer checking customers additional time during the next business day to cover overdrafts, we again wanted to lead the way.  Instead of taking away benefits and adding fees, we have introduced a new free checking account that gives our customers more."

Asterisk-Free Checking demonstrates that Huntington is breaking away from a typical approach to banking, which for many banks means taking away features and adding fees.  In fact, according to a recent American Bankers Association Survey(1), 81 percent of banks plan to increase checking account maintenance fees, 77 percent will impose or increase fees on other programs, and 66 percent will abolish free checking altogether.

"Development of our new checking began more than a year ago and the process centered on ideas and feedback directly from our customers and frontline employees," said Steinour.  "Consumers are looking for simplicity, fairness, value and transparency.  Asterisk-Free Checking delivers all four.  And while we're forgoing some fee income with this new checking account and 24-Hour Grace, doing the right thing for our customers is doing the right thing for our business.  And we are continuing to take care of our shareholders by attracting and retaining more customers throughout the Midwest."

Last fall, Huntington added 24-Hour Grace to all its consumer checking accounts, and now every new consumer checking account has free ID Theft Resolution Services as well.  Huntington's "Fair Play" approach is working and will continue to influence the bank's future banking products and services.  

"Along with 24-Hour Grace and free real time email and text alerts, Asterisk-Free Checking is another step we've taken to put our customers first, and one that reflects our continued focus on fairness," said Mary Navarro, Huntington's director of consumer and business banking.  "We believe Asterisk-Free Checking offers our consumer customers the best checking account in the Midwest, if not the country."

The launch of Asterisk-Free Checking will be supported by print, online and television advertising in all Huntington's markets beginning today, and will also include direct mail.  

Asterisk-Free Checking is available to all Huntington consumer checking customers now.  And Huntington will proactively help its current customers into Asterisk-Free Checking or Huntington Plus over the next year.  

More About 24-Hour Grace®

24-Hour Grace is the first-and-only service of its kind and gives Huntington consumer customers additional time during the next business day to cover overdrafts on their checking accounts.  With 24-Hour Grace, Huntington will automatically waive the overdraft fee as long as the customer makes a deposit during the next business day to resolve the overdraft status.  The deposit must be received before Huntington's cut-off time, which ranges from noon to 10 p.m. depending on how the deposit is made.  The balance after all transactions for the account are processed the next day must not be negative.  Does not waive return fees or extended overdraft fees.  24-Hour Grace is available for free on all Huntington consumer checking accounts.  

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a $53 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The Huntington National Bank, founded in 1866, provides full-service commercial, small business, and consumer banking services; mortgage banking services; treasury management and foreign exchange services; equipment leasing; wealth and investment management services; trust services; brokerage services; customized insurance brokerage and service programs; and other financial product and services. The principal markets for these services are Huntington's six-state banking franchise: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The primary distribution channels include a banking network of over 600 traditional branches and convenience branches located in grocery stores and retirement centers, and through an array of alternative distribution channels including internet and mobile banking, telephone banking, and over 1,300 ATMs. Through automotive dealership relationships within its six-state banking franchise area and selected New England states, Huntington also provides commercial banking services to the automotive dealers and retail automobile financing for dealer customers.

(1)  ABA Debit Interchange Survey, 2011

The logo mark and Huntington® are federally registered service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.  Asterisk-Free Checking™ is an exclusive mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.  Patent pending for the 24-Hour Grace® system and method.  © 2011 Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

SOURCE Huntington Bancshares Incorporated