Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fifth Third Bank offers help to job-seekers

In keeping with a trend of banks offering customers free advice on everything from financial literacy to saving for retirement, Fifth Third Bank, the fourth-largest bank in Mecklenburg County, has announced that it’s providing help to people looking for a job.

But the service is available only to the bank’s online customers, which makes it different from advice that other banks are giving away to everyone.

As some banks have done to roll out free services, Fifth Third is partnering with a company that has niche knowledge. For example, in April, Bank of America and Khan Academy announced that they had joined forces to offer the general public free tips on developing better money habits.

A nonprofit, Khan runs a website that offers free videos that teach, among other things, core concepts in math and science.

To provide the job-searching help, Fifth Third, based in Cincinnati, has partnered with NextJob, headquartered in Bend, Ore. Through the collaboration, NextJob is making its Job Seeker’s Toolkit available to Fifth Third customers.

According to Fifth Third, the toolkit includes resume-writing tips and advice on networking and “developing a personal brand.” Fifth Third said its customers can access the toolkit for 39 weeks once they sign up to use it.

It’s not the first project involving Fifth Third and NextJob. The two have been offering Fifth Third's unemployed mortgage borrowers in risk of going into default free job-training assistance.

On Wednesday, Nancy Bush, a banking industry expert, called the Job Seeker’s Toolkit project a “great move” for Fifth Third.

“The big banks — particularly in Ohio, one of the most ‘over-banked’ states — increasingly need to do things that both endear them to their customers and differentiate them from each other,” she wrote in an email.

“Plus, it's a great way to fight the ‘big bank’ label.”