From Ohio Business Growth Guide 2024

Where Big Tech Companies Make Big Investments

Ohio helps it technology startups grow.

The Fifth Third Bank headquarters building at Fountain Square in Cincinnati.
Photo courtesy of Fifth Third Bank

by Mark Arend

wo of the 20 largest banks by assets in the U.S. are headquartered in Ohio — Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati and Huntington Bancshares in Columbus. Cleveland-based KeyBank makes the top 50. But there is much more to Ohio’s financial services industry than that. Ohio is also a leading location for payment processors, insurance operations and fintech companies, among others.

Companies in these sectors could locate in better-known financial centers such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago. But they’re coming to Ohio for the talent — especially IT talent — and real estate they can procure at a fraction of the cost of other locations. Those are advantages for the employers. Their employees benefit from a cost of living they could never enjoy in an East or West Coast financial center.

 Access to IT talent is a top location criterion for financial companies evaluating sites for their operations. And they’re finding it in Ohio. A recent example is global payment processing provider Worldpay’s decision to reestablish its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati now that it has spun off from Fidelity National Information Services. In December 2023, the company said it plans to create more than 500 jobs in the region.

“Worldpay selecting Ohio for its headquarters showcases our position as a supportive environment for fintech innovation,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted in a release. “Coupled with the Cincinnati Innovation District, this announcement allows Worldpay to tap into a rich talent pool of highly skilled professionals in finance, technology, and data analytics.”  

Worldpay’s CEO, Charles Drucker, said in the release that “Access to talent, quality of life, great educational institutions and the new direct flight from CVG Airport to London significantly contributed to the decision to make our corporate headquarters in Greater Cincinnati, connecting us to our customers worldwide.”

 Columbus Checks the Boxes
Also in December, Wells Fargo announced the Columbus area as the location for a new financial services technology center, citing its supply of IT workers and labor costs as being among its site criteria. It’s investing $3.25 million in a facility in Easton.

“There isn’t a more natural home for this chapter of our business than Columbus,” said Alan Varrasso, Wells Fargo’s chief information officer, in a statement. “Technology is moving rapidly, and we’ve carefully developed this project to meet the demands of the market. We’re looking forward to building out this new chapter of our business and making Ohio its home.”

Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bank also picked the Columbus region, Westerville, specifically, for its new technology center. The company explained in a release that “its IT division is establishing a workforce in new geographies, like Westerville, to enable acquisition and retention of world-class data analytics, cybersecurity, software development, finance and IT talent. The banking company currently has nearly 3,400 full-time employees across its offices and is adding 150 positions with this expansion into the Columbus Region.”

Why Ohio’s Capital?
“The robust talent pipeline, concentration of finance and technology companies and competitive business environment in the Columbus Region is the type of ecosystem we were looking for when scouting locations across the country,” said Tim Boothe, chief operating officer, in the release. “The community amenities, strong corporate presence, Class A office product and talent acquisition practices made Westerville the top contender for this project, which will ultimately be a catalyst for the bank’s growth nationwide.”

Meanwhile, Ohio has emerged as a leading state for fintech companies, with many growing rapidly in the state’s major metros. In early May, according to Built In, an online community for startups and technology companies, JPMorgan Chase, Pumpkin, Klarna, First Merchants Corporation, Upstart and Bread Financial all were hiring — and that’s just in Columbus. PNC Financial Services was hiring in Cleveland. And in Cincinnati, expanding fintech companies include First Financial Bank and Resurgent Capital Services.

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


Ohio's competitive business climate, location, workforce and quality of life make the Buckeye State the right place for business.

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