Enhancing the Columbus Finance Hub for Long-Term Gains

With established industry players, key talent and an abundance of venture capital firms, Central Ohio spells success for Finance Companies

By Rich Fletcher / February 7, 2024

Male hands with laptop. Man working remotely at home. Concept of networking or remote work. Global business network. Online courses.

From fintech startups and scale-ups to the headquarters of incumbent financial juggernauts, the Columbus Region has become a premier finance hub, rivaling some of the world’s premier banking destinations including London, and New York City.

With access to capital, proximity to incumbent commercial banks and low business taxes, Central Ohio provides a complete financial services ecosystem. The number of finance companies in Columbus, Ohio has been increasing steadily over the past decade, homing in on the Region’s tech-driven talent and contributing to the largest private sector economic output in the Region. Learn more about the factors that put Columbus and Ohio in the top five largest financial services sectors in the U.S.

The Custodian for Finance Industry Success

Financial services firms continue to invest in Columbus because the Region offers a consistent ecosystem for comprehensive growth. Nationwide offers a full range of services and employs nearly 15,000 associates across its five downtown Columbus facilities and other nearby business campuses. The company has been a major investor in startups in the Region, even operating its own venture capital (VC) division known as Nationwide Ventures.

Investment banking company JP Morgan & Chase also has an office in Franklin County and employs more than 17,000 people across the Columbus Region — including thousands of tech workers who build apps and digital tools for Chase online banking. In the fall of 2018, the company announced the opening of a fintech innovation center in Columbus to engineer solutions ranging from blockchain to app design.

Headquartered in Franklin County for over a century, Huntington Bancshares is among the top 20 largest commercial banks in the United States. The company opened its new, open collaboration Huntington Gateway Center in Northland in 2017, which offers energy-efficiency, a full-sized basketball court and a fitness center.

Financial institutions like Fifth Third Bank, PNC Bank and US Bank also have operations in the Columbus Region.

The US Bank building in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
DA5RHM The US Bank building in Columbus, Ohio, USA.

A Talent and Resource-Driven Finance Hub

Fintech companies in Central Ohio become industry disruptors due in part to finance graduates from higher education institutions like Franklin University, Ohio State University and Denison University. In total, over 5,000 degrees in financial services management were awarded between 2018 and 2023.

VC firms recognize Columbus as a high-potential fintech hub, as established by Columbus’ being the home of Drive Capital — the nation’s largest non-coastal VC fund. The private investment firm has invested in multiple fintech and insurtech startups that have become exit stage companies, unicorns and high valuation businesses. In 2021, $1.6 billion in venture capital was raised by startups throughout the Region.

Columbus also offers a strong foundation for startups like Bread Financial, which was acquired in 2022 and has since grown to more than 7,500 global associates.

A Fixed Interest in the Region

Incumbent banking institutions provide powerful guidance to new finance companies in Columbus, Ohio. Joining industry leaders like JP Morgan & Chase, Huntington and Nationwide is Wells Fargo, which recently announced plans to expand its presence in the Region with a new technology hub that will create close to 600 well-paying jobs. The new facility will be constructed at a yet-to-be-determined location and is the company’s first major investment in Central Ohio — adding to its more than 8,400 global locations.

With more than $65 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bank is one of the top performing banks in the nation. The Phoenix-based asset management company plans to grow its product line in Columbus, and recently announced it will be expanding in the Region, creating 150 jobs in data analytics, development and finance as part of its new technology hub in Westerville, Ohio.

Technological talent is not the only way in which the Region serves its finance hub. Leading digital banking and payment service firm Discover understands this, and in 2023 the company broke ground on renovations to a 103,000-square-foot building in Whitehall, Ohio. The $16 billion investment will be home to Discover’s newest customer care center and will be located just twenty minutes away from its data center in New Albany, Ohio.

With dozens of finance companies in Columbus, Ohio, the Columbus Region is a finance hub with a future. Contact us to learn how your business can benefit from Central Ohio’s community of innovators.

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