Pennsylvania Dropped A Notch By Credit-Rating Agency

The New York-based credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has slapped a lower rating on Pennsylvania‘s debt as state budgetmakers face spiraling public pension costs.

Monday’s downgrade means Pennsylvania is now closer to the bottom of Moody’s ratings for the 47 states with general obligation debt.

Thirty states still have ratings of Aaa or Aa1, while Pennsylvania joins 16 other states with an Aa2 rating or below.  Moody’s had boosted Pennsylvania’s rating to Aa1 in 2010.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/ap/689214_Pa–dropped-a-notch-by-credit-rating-agency.html#ixzz20pkx2F2i

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

CNA Insurance To Move Operations Out Of Reading

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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CNA Insurance said Thursday that the company plans to move its operations from its building at 401 Penn St. to another location in Berks County.

Mayor Tom McMahon confirmed that the insurance company officials told him they want to move to smaller quarters because only 25 percent of the building is in use, so it has become difficult for the company to support it financially…

Read the rest of the article here: http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=339019

Wilmington Trust Offers Itself To M&T Bank At Half-Price

Wilmington Trust headquarters with the I. M. P...

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This venerable Delaware bank started by the du Pont family has fallen on hard times.  After sustaining some large losses over the last several quarters, the bank started looking for a buyer.  M&T Bank has acquired Wilmington Trust and will inherit a strong presence in Delaware.

Wilmington Trust is a casualty of the recession – low investment earnings and the housing market grinding to a halt have affected the bank’s ability to make enough revenue.

At present, no member of the du Pont family sits on the bank’s board, although some family members are depositors.  One of Wilmington Trust’s specialties is wealth management.  They have a number of clients with a $10,000,000+ in liquid assets for a total of $58.4 billion.

Sadly, this is another more or less “local” bank that’s being gobbled up by a super-regional player.  M&T Bank has bought up smaller banks and expanded their presence.  Delaware will expand M&T’s market to ten states, primarily along the East Cost.  M&T Bank, based in Buffalo,NY, has reported profits for 34 years in a row.

PNC Buys Royal Bank’s Retail Branches For $3.45 Billion

Royal Bank of Canada at Woodbine & 16th

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Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank is gobbling up all of Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S.branches – 424 locations in all.  The acquisition will make PNC the fifth largest U.S. bank with 2,870 branches.

RBC USA locations are in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The acquisition is expected to close in March of 2012.

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Scranton PA – Electric City Building Boom Defies The Recession

Scranton

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Normally, when we think of boom towns, Scranton is not generally at the top of the list.  For decades Scranton has struggled with declining population and employment, as the area dealt with the death of “King Coal” and huge manufacturing losses.

Yet despite a major nationwide economic downturn, Scranton is in the middle of a building boom.  Another unusual factor is that this boom is primarily in center city.  Most cities are not seeing growth in their downtown areas.  Usually growth is occurring in the suburbs.

There are four major projects being built in Scranton that total more than $260 million dollars!  That’s not a small chunk of change for a city of 72,000 residents.  Heck, that’s not a small chunk of change for a larger city!

The projects include:

Construction of the Commonwealth Medical College – $120 million dollars

Several building projects at the University of Scranton – $116 million dollars

Connell Building renovation – $23 million dollars

Tobyhanna Army Deport Federal Credit Union headquarters construction – $4 million dollars

This is encouraging news for NEPA!  1,400+ workers in the building trades are finding employment during this frenzy of activity in Scranton.  These employers will add permanent jobs that will continue to benefit Scranton for years to come.

Fulton Bank Asserts Dominance In Lancaster Financial Services Market

Fulton Bank has asserted its dominance in the Lancaster County financial services market and expanded its lead over number two rival Susquehanna Bank.

Fulton Bank has 23.09% of all Lancaster County deposits, up from 21.3% last year.  Fulton increased its lead over rival Susquehanna Bank from 3.37% to 5.14% over last year.  Both banks are based in Lancaster County.  Susquehanna Bank is based in Lititz and Fulton Bank has its headquarters in Lancaster City on historic Penn Square.

Fulton Bank has a branch in Pottstown located at 799 State Street in the Pottstown Plaza shopping center.  Susquehanna Bank maintains a very visible presence downtown Pottstown occupying a 5-story building at the corner of High and Hanover Streets.

Fulton Bank has been named one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania for 2010 in the large company category.  http://www.fultonbank.com/viewpage.asp?n=3

Fulton Bank has just announced plans to expand their corporate headquarters in Lancaster City and add 225 more employees.  The building project will be between $15-$20 million dollars.  To see the details click here: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/300590

First Niagara Gobbles Up Another Bank

A First Niagara branch in Cranberry Township, ...

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Pottstown newcomer First Niagara Bank is expanding again.  No sooner did the ink dry on the Harleysville sale that brought First Niagara here…they went bought another bank! 

New Alliance Bank of Connecticut was purchased in a $1.5 billion dollar transaction.  The deal will close the second quarter of 2011.  This will give First Niagara Bank 340 offices, $29 billion in assets, $18 billion in deposits and about 5000 employees. 

In comparison, the Harleysville sale price was $300 million.