PNC Shrinks Branch Network

PNC Bank shrunk its branch network by 160 offices last year, the most of any bank nationwide except for Bank of America, an analysis released Monday by SNL Financial found.

Collectively, banks cut their branch total by 1,487 locations in 2013, SNL said, as the industry contended with persistently low interest rates, slow loan growth and escalating costs.

Lenders large and small “grappled with weak revenue growth and heavy [regulatory] compliance costs that are motivating them to reduce the fixed expenses tied to large branch networks,” said SNL, a Charlottesville, Va.-based research firm.

PNC, Pittsburgh’s dominant bank and the eighth biggest nationwide, closed 182 branches and opened 22 others across its 19-state footprint in 2013 for a net loss of 160, SNL said. Bank of America, the nation’s second-biggest bank, had a net loss of 189 branches.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/01/28/PNC-shrinks-branch-network/stories/201401280041#ixzz2rjqmajiY

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Fees Nibble At Income Of Those Paid With Plastic

An HSBC Solo debit card issued in the UK in 2007

An HSBC Solo debit card issued in the UK in 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  It’s generally people with lower incomes that get paid this way :(

On paper, it couldn’t be more convenient: Instead of a check every two weeks, your employer hands you a debit card, depositing your pay automatically and freeing you to spend it immediately.

But then there are the fees: $1.50 to withdraw cash, another $2.50 if you do it from a non-company ATM, the $2 monthly account fee.  For workers making low wages, those fees can eat up a sizable portion of their income, a fact that has sparked lawsuits in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

With one of the nation’s largest banks headquartered here and a slew of local public employers already signed up for similar programs, what role will Pittsburgh play in the payroll debate?

“It really is consistent with best business practices of going as paperless as possible,” said Brad Korinski, chief counsel at the Allegheny County controller’s office.  “On the consumer end of things, the debit cards provide immediate and guaranteed access to funds.  You’re not waiting for the post office to get it to you.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/fees-nibble-at-income-of-those-paid-with-plastic-694438/#ixzz2YHeekGb0

U.S. Manufacturing Down In November

Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in November as orders dropped to a three-month low and exports slowed.

The Institute for Supply Management‘s factory index decreased to 49.5, the lowest since July 2009, from 51.7 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today.  Economists projected the index would ease to 51.4, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.  A reading of 50 marks the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

Less corporate investment in equipment as U.S. lawmakers debate the nation’s budget, weaker orders from overseas and disturbances related to the biggest Atlantic storm in history are converging to slow manufacturing.  Eleven of the 18 industries covered in the report reported business shrank last month.

“Manufacturing has slowed down,” Joshua Dennerlein, an economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, said before the report.  “Manufacturers have to prepare for demand down the road, and they’re not actually sure what it’s going to be.”

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-manufacturing-october-20121203,0,334772.story

Bank Of America Closes Lancaster City Branch

Bank of America closed its Penn Square branch last Friday, ending eight years of operation there.

Bank of America had acquired the Griest Building branch through its 2004 purchase of FleetBoston Financial.

Griest Building owner Rob Ecklin said two other banks have expressed interest in opening in the 4,100-square-foot location.

“I’m hopeful of getting another bank in there, but I just don’t know. It’s too early to tell,” Ecklin said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/641057_Bank-of-America-closes-Lancaster-city-branch.html#ixzz1uKScUYck

What Companies Are The Worst And The Best For Customer Service?

According to an MSN Money-Zogby International customer service survey, these companies made their 2010 Wall of Shame:

1. AOL

2. Bank of America

3. Comcast

4. Sprint Nextel

5. Capital One

6. Dish Network

7. Time Warner Cable

8. Wells Fargo

9. Citibank

10. HSBC

Interesting that this list consists primarily of banks/credit card companies and cable tv/phone/internet service providers…hmmmm.

2010 Wall of Fame recipients are:

1. Amazon

2. Trader Joe’s

3. Netflix

4. Apple

5. FedEx

6. Publix

7. Southwest Airlines

8. UPS

9. Nordstrom

10. Marriott

Interesting who did and didn’t make the top 10 here.  I was surprised I didn’t see Target or Kohl’s for starters.

To view the complete list of all 150 companies and their scores, click on the link below and scroll about half way down the page to find the list:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/see-the-full-list-of-company-rankings-2010.aspx