Fifth Third Bank

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Wikipedia explains that the Fifth Third Bank's name "is derived from the names of both of the bank's two predecessor companies: Third National Bank and Fifth National Bank, which merged in 1908". But despite the fact that "[t]he bank operates 1,154 branches and 2,469 automated teller machines in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina", I've managed to travel extensively in those states without ever encountering the name, until this building presented itself to us on our way to dinner last night in Toledo OH. The name seems odd at first but I guess it's memorable as a result.

Are there any other examples of names combining two ordinal numbers as the result of a merger, like the "Second Third Presbyterian Church"?


  1. Laura Morland said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 6:54 am

    I first encountered "Fifth Third Bank" a few years ago in the form of an ATM in an airport in Florida. I found it such a ridiculous name for a bank that I snapped a photo of it. I assumed that it was a new entity, and I'm astonished to learn that it has existed, in its present form, for over a century. The name is indeed memorable (and I've since noticed it several other airports).

    As for your question, I wish I had a positive response. But the question implies a range of institutions following ordinal naming patterns, and I don't know of any. I did grow up in a small city in Central Florida with a lot of churches, including First Presbyterian, First Baptist, First Methodist. (For the record, I know of no Lutheran, Episcopal or Catholic church *anywhere* that uses an ordinal number in its name.)

    As a child, I always found it curious that no church–of any denomination–was humble enough to call itself "2nd." The name of my own church, for example, was "Trinity Methodist"; the (at the time) smaller Baptist church is called "Stetson Baptist" (after the name of the local university), and there has never been another Presbyterian church in my home town.

    It would be interesting to see a photograph of even a "Third Baptist Church"; a *"Third Fifth Baptist Church" is too much to hope for.

  2. Jim Manheim said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 6:59 am

    There's a Fifth Third Field (home of the Toledo Mud Hens) quite near where that photo was taken, too.

  3. Dianne said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:01 am

    Fifth Third Bank branches are common around Chicago. My former husband, upon first encountering one, renamed it the “One and Two-Thirds Bank.“

  4. m said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:17 am

    Simple proof of principle that just because you haven't heard of something, you don't know if it exists until you google it.

    If you google "second Baptist…" you get a list that includes churches in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Monroe, and Ypsilanti, Michigan; Houston, Texas; and more. "Third Baptist" churches appear for St. Louis, MO, San Francisco, CA, and more. Whether this indicates humility is probably not knowable.

    As for "first Lutheran" or "second Lutheran" — google also offers examples.

  5. Ed Palmer said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:20 am

    I always thought it odd that the bank's name incorporated an irrational number, which made me wonder about their ability to count money.

  6. Michael Lugo said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:30 am

    A quick Google search for "first second X church" and "second first X church", where X = Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist doesn't turn up any churches with those names. It turns up examples of the second building that First Baptist Church used. Obviously there might be examples with other numbers, but it seems best to start with the small ones.

    My partner has told me that in a Southern small town, "Second Baptist" is usually the black church, although I can't vouch for this being true in general.

  7. Brian said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:43 am

    Ed Palmer, how are you interpreting the title to get an irrational number? I see 4 possible interpretations, and they all result in rational numbers:

    * The Fifth Third refers to the fifth of 5 individual thirds, so is just 1/3.

    * It refers to the total of 5 thirds or 5/3, also known as 1 and a 1/3 as Diane suggests.

    * It refers to a fifth of a third (for example a half gallon refers to half *of* a gallon), resulting in 1/15.

    * It refers to the total of a fifth and a third, which is 8/15.

    Is there another option?

  8. Jo said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:11 am

    @Laura Morland

    As a child, I always found it curious that no church–of any denomination–was humble enough to call itself "2nd."

    Actually [Ordinal] Presbyterian/Baptist/Methodist for Ordinal > First are common, at least in the South. I think Christian Science takes this farther than anyone, though, with e.g. 17th Church of Christ, Scientist not unheard of.

  9. Jerry Friedman said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:12 am

    Brian: There's the fifth root of one-third and the third root of one-fifth, or the same with the one-fifth or one-third power. (Reminds me of the time a colleague mentioned the seventh power and it turned out he meant the one-seventh power.) Also, combinations of fifths and thirds in a equally tempered scale will be irrational ratios of frequencies, but that's just the way equal temperament is defined.

    However, it would never occur to me to combine "Fifth" and "Third" in any arithmetic way in the name of that bank (which I've known about for years, being from Ohio).

  10. Rob Wilson said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:17 am

    I once rowed a boat in the First and Third Trinity Boat Club.
    Some historical notes are here:

  11. Jonathan Badger said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:34 am

    There's the publisher "First Second Books", although it is ambiguous as to whether "Second" is the unit of time or the ordinal.

  12. Michele Sharik said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:34 am

    In Dayton, OH, there is a big “Fifth Third Bank” building at the corner of Fifth Ave and Third St (I might have the St & Ave reversed).

  13. Faldone said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:52 am

    There are, in fact three ballparks named after this bank. There is Fifth Third Field, home of the Class A Dayton (OH) Dragons, Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps, as well as the aforementioned Fifth Third Field, home of the Class AAA Toledo Mudhens. So there is a first Fifth Third Field, a second Fifth Third Field and a third Fifth Third Field.

  14. Bloix said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:01 am

    Note quite the same, but worth noting, perhaps (all facts from wikipedia):
    In 1927, Chris Matulich opened Chris steak house in New Orleans, and it became a local landmark. In 1965, it was bought by Ruth Fertel. For legal reasons not worth bothering with, she had to change the name ten years' later, and so as not to lose the value of the name, she called it Ruth's Chris Steak House.

  15. ScottW said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:06 am

    The Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago is famous enough to have it own Wikipedia article:

  16. Marc Foster said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:30 am

    I just have to note that 5/3 is 1 ⅔ not 1 ⅓.

  17. Mitch said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:41 am

    What I always wanted to be true about this name is that this was the fifth branch of an entity formerly known as 'Third Bank'. That is, there could easily have been many branches of the First, and Second Banks (themselves separate institutions with multiple branches), and that economics, mergers and acquisitions, the vagaries of time stretching back to the 1800's just resulted in this particular one lasting till now. In some nearby but alternate universe there's a lone Ninth Seventh Bank, or a row of First, Second, Third, and Fourth Fifths Banks on, obviously, Second Bank Street.

  18. Bloix said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:50 am

    The Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (now on Sixteenth Street), founded in 1839, is the oldest African-American congregation in Washington, DC. Spin-offs from the "Mother Church" were named the Second Baptist Church (originally the Second Colored Baptist Church), the Third, Fourth and Fifth.

    All but one have changed their names (the Metropolitan Baptist Church, etc) but the Second still uses that name –

  19. J.W. Brewer said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:52 am

    While the Christian Scientists definitely seem to be the leader when it comes to higher numbers (there's a "36th" in the L.A. area, and I don't know if that's the all-time record-holder), among more mainline denominations Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago (which I used to walk by almost every day back when I lived nearby in 1989-92) can't compete with Philadelphia's

  20. J.W. Brewer said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 10:19 am

    While I'm not aware of specifically religious entities with multiple ordinal numbers, you do frequently see names of individual congregations (e.g. "Ascension & St. Agnes") or denominations (the "Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church") that likely reflect historical mergers and may thus seem a bit off either syntactically or semantically. One of my all-time favorite congregation names was that of a storefront church in an ungentrified part of Cleveland I passed by happenstance over a quarter-century ago, viz., "The Progressive Original Glorious Church of the Apostolic Doctrine." Then as now I am genuinely unsure if the impressive string of adjectives reflected a compromise (possibly as a result of merger) versus reflecting the rather baroque vision of a single name-giver. I can no longer find internet evidence suggesting that is an active congregation under that name,* but the tri-gram "Original Glorious Church" with or without various other modifiers seems to be currently extant for multiple congregations in Ohio and neighboring states.

    *One probably out-of-date list of churches for a particular neighborhood gives "Progressive Glorious Original Church" at an address (certainly in the same general part of Cleveland as I recall – can't swear it's the exact same location) that is now apparently instead associated with the somewhat-less-impressively named (imho) "Progressive Evangelistic Temple."

  21. John Lawler said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 11:26 am

    It seems like Fifth Third is a classic example of a Dvandva compound. And that dvandva itself is an example of the construction Mark was asking about.

  22. Scott P. said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 12:43 pm

    Still not as strange as Ruth's Chris Steak House.

  23. Dboland said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 12:50 pm

    I wonder why someone would even think to compare numerical names of business to churches. Also who cares?

  24. J.W. Brewer said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 1:45 pm

    There's a military usage (at least in the UK) of dvandva-like names of regiments that have resulted from mergers of numbered predecessors, such as the According to the wiki article, the 17th/21st Lancers, formed by merger in 1922, eventually in turn "amalgamated with the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers to form the Queen's Royal Lancers in 1993." I have no idea how "17th/21st" or "16th/5th" were pronounced out loud.

  25. David L said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 1:45 pm

    Since this was a merger of the 1/5 bank and the 1/3 bank, they could have gone for the average, making it the Four Fifteenths Bank.

  26. Neil Dolinger said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

    "I always thought it odd that the bank's name incorporated an irrational number, which made me wonder about their ability to count money."

    A fair point, but since the alternative ("Third Fifth Bank") resulted in a rational number but called into question the bank's sobriety (thank you, Wikipedia), management chose irrationality.

  27. Scott P. said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 2:46 pm

    There's a military usage (at least in the UK) of dvandva-like names of regiments that have resulted from mergers of numbered predecessors,

    Happened a lot in the US Civil War, especially among Confederate regiments.

  28. Terry Hunt said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

    Re J.W. Brewer's comment (in which he beat me to making the same observation): I can confirm from personal experience of growing up as a British Army brat that such entities' names were spoken as, for example, "The Seventeenth Twenty-first Lancers."

    I've occasionally encountered humorous articles (in, for example, Soldier magazine) that made play of converting such actual and proposed merger names to decimals, such that the 17th/21st would become "The 0.81 Lancers", but I'm not aware that this ever became a spoken trope.

    It is true, however, that members of some regiments, etc., routinely mock-spit before speaking the name of rival bodies even in ordinary conversation.

  29. A-gu said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 4:32 pm

    My uncle worked at that bank for years in Evansville. I think I still have a savings account there my grandparents opened 30 years ago.

  30. Lalitrev said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 4:48 pm

    Fifth Third has recently capitalized on the strangeness of their name with an ad campaign, "Everything a fifth third better," which posits that their customer service is 166.7% better than the competitors'.

  31. Emily said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 5:41 pm

    Another location named for the Fifth Third Bank:
    For which wikipedia jokester created the redirect "Improper Fraction Arena":

  32. mollymooly said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 6:13 pm

    @Ed Palmer

    I always thought it odd that the bank's name incorporated an irrational number


    Ed Palmer, how are you interpreting the title to get an irrational number?

    Perhaps confusing irrational numbers with improper fractions is part of the problem?

  33. Jonathan D said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 6:32 pm

    Neil Dolinger, 5/3 and 3/5 are both rational numbers. Perhaps you (and Ed Palmer) are thinking of the fact that five thirds is an improper fraction.

  34. Vance Koven said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

    For many decades, Boston had a First & Second Church, representing a merger of the two oldest (we're talking 17th century) Congregational (Unitarian after around 1820) churches in town. In the last few years, they've dropped the designation Second, so now they're just the First Church. The numbering system can go quite far; there's a famous Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston.

    I have seen Fifth Third Bank branches in various places in Ohio, and thought the name a little odd, not for the combination of ordinals but for leaving out the "and." I remember back in the 1960s or 1970s there was a conglomerate called Gulf + Western. You could do that with combined names, and it would lead to the satisfying outcome Fifth + Third = Eighth Bank.

  35. Ray said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

    thanks, Bloix, for that explanation about Ruth's Chris Steak House. there's one here in philly, and I always wondered about the name…

    and, close to philly, we have the "Twentieth Century Club" in landsdowne, which has always made me wonder (if there are 19 other Century Clubs running around or what)

    and I can't help thinking that at some point in philly's history we saw the establishment of the first Second Antioch Baptist Church :-)

  36. Garrett Wollman said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:27 pm

    New Old South Church in Boston (which people mostly just refer to as Old South Church) would seem to be similar.

    The Unitarian schism left many Massachusetts towns with two First Churches, one Unitarian, one Trinitarian (Congregational), both claiming the heritage of the first parish in the town. Cambridge, of course, was at the center of this, and as the Wikipedia article relates, "In 1899, it was agreed that the church associated with that society [GAW: the Trinitarian dissenters] should be called the First Church in Cambridge (Congregational), now part of the United Church of Christ, and this church, the First Parish in Cambridge (Unitarian) [now Unitarian Universalist]." in nearby Concord and Wayland, the First Churches also went Unitarian, and the dissenters formed new bodies each called the Trinitarian Congregational Church, the first examples of this retronym that I'm aware of.

  37. Giacomo Ponzetto said,

    July 17, 2018 @ 9:40 pm

    In Italy, offal can be called il quinto quarto, which could be translated literally as "the fifth fourth," although I'm afraid the butchering meaning requires instead "the fifth quarter."

  38. Will Fitzgerald said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 12:58 am

    Ok, this gives me the opportunity to tell my late father-in-law's excellent joke: Why is it called Fifth Third Bank? Because that's where you keep your pieces of eight.

  39. d.b.m.g. said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 1:32 am

    There's of course James VI and I.

  40. Adam F said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 2:49 am

    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned a major (or minor) triad yet.

  41. jaap said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 3:47 am

    When I first saw the Fifth Third Bank, I assumed it was probably named after the address where it was originally located, i.e. the corner of Fifth and Third in some city.

  42. David Marjanović said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 5:01 am

    and, close to philly, we have the "Twentieth Century Club" in landsdowne, which has always made me wonder (if there are 19 other Century Clubs running around or what)

    I parse this as having a missing hyphen and being a Twentieth-Century Club, which should date from a time when the 20th Century was new and exciting.

  43. Rodger C said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 9:22 am

    Still not as strange as Ruth's Chris Steak House.

    Or, as I once saw (also in Ohio), Fred's Giovanni's Pizza.

  44. Mark O said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 8:55 pm

    My favorite merged congregations church name is St. James Bond church in Toronto (no longer extant).

  45. Juanma Barranquero said,

    July 18, 2018 @ 9:46 pm

    Merger names are weird. I remember, as a non-English speaking child, reading the name "20th Century Fox" many years ago, looking the words in an English-Spanish dictionary, and then wondering "what's so special about a fox from this century?"

  46. Sili said,

    July 19, 2018 @ 7:59 am

    John's Hopskin's Hospital? ;þ

  47. Emily said,

    July 19, 2018 @ 5:57 pm

    There's also a Fifth Third Arena named after the bank, which was briefly known on Wikipedia as "Improper Fraction Arena":

  48. ajay said,

    July 20, 2018 @ 5:00 am

    According to the wiki article, the 17th/21st Lancers, formed by merger in 1922, eventually in turn "amalgamated with the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers to form the Queen's Royal Lancers in 1993." I have no idea how "17th/21st" or "16th/5th" were pronounced out loud.

    As said above, "Seventeenth Twenty-First Lancers".

    The Army of India also had numbered regional regiments, composed of numbered battalions: so you might have the First Punjab Regiment, say, which would include a First, Second and Third battalion. This would be normally written as "2/1 Punjab" and pronounced "Second First Punjab". (The Indian army has since reorganised so that there's just one large regiment for each region.)

    The US army has a similar setup but they would call the first battalion of the 30th infantry regiment "first of the thirtieth", not "first thirtieth".

  49. Paul Kay said,

    July 20, 2018 @ 1:18 pm

    One of New Orleans's major restaurants is Pascal's Manale restaurant, opened in 1913 as Manale's and still referred to that way by locals . (I lived across Dryades street from Manale's in the early 1950s.)

  50. RichG said,

    July 20, 2018 @ 5:05 pm

    I've visited Ohio several times over the last seven or so years and encountered the odd name. I questioned the derivation early on and had it explained to me. On a subsequent visit it occurred to me that the bank could be missing out on a potentially memorable sponsorship opportunity. They could sponsor local football teams' 4th down plays (perhaps only when "going for it" rather than the typical punt), leading to the announcers saying something like…

    "And now here's your 5th 3rd 4th down play…"

    Then if the attempt is successful, they could extend the confusion with "…That was a 5th 3rd 4th down 1st down conversion."

  51. David Udin said,

    July 23, 2018 @ 6:25 pm

    I think he is confusing irrational (not capable of being expressed as the ratio of two integers) with repeating decimal, 1.666… ad infinitum. 5/3 is rational (ratio-nal)

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