Ohio’s largest bank, Fifth Third Bancorp, fired its general counsel in July because she was romantically involved with the chief executive of Fannie Mae, Timothy Mayopoulos, reports The Wall Street Journal staffers Emily Glazer, Rachel Louise Ensign, and Nick Timiraos.
Fifth Third last month said Heather Russell, who was chief legal officer and corporate secretary for less than a year, departed following “a personal matter“ that represented “a conflict of interest.”
Fifth Third declined to comment further, but following WSJ inquires, Russell put out a statement saying she “proactively informed Fifth Third’s senior management about my personal relationship with Tim Mayopoulos, and they terminated me as a result of it. During my time at Fifth Third, I never had any interactions or dealings with Fannie Mae in any regard, and there was never any conflict of interest.”
According to people familiar with the matter, Mayopoulos disclosed the relationship to Fannie Mae’s compliance and ethics office in March. In a statement, Fannie Mae said that “Mr. Mayopoulos has no involvement in Fannie Mae’s relationship with Fifth Third Bank. Quite simply, there is no conflict of interest under Fannie Mae’s corporate policies.”