Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
POTTSTOWN, PA — The changes underway at the Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center now also include a change in leadership.
After 19 years with the center, Executive Director Brad Fuller is joining the legions of the retired and is currently training his replacement — Brian Parkes of Gilbertsville.
Parkes, 43, was most recently self-employed for nine years with Krisp Communications, a firm which worked exclusively with non-profit organizations and specializing in communications, grant-writing and fundraising.
Among his clients were six senior centers in Chester County and one in Montgomery County.
Harleysville had a large loss in second quarter this fiscal year.
An interesting side note – the same man who founded Harleysville Insurance Company also founded Harleysville National Bank. Harleysville National Bank recently merged with Buffalo, NY based First Niagara. What a sad coincidence it would be if this company succumbed to an out-of-state merger and disappeared as well.
UK banking giant HSBC is now focusing on fast-growing emerging markets and plans to sell about half of its US Retail Bank Branches (195) to First Niagara for about one billion dollars. The branches up for sale are mainly in New York and six are in Connecticut.
HSBC lost billions in the financial crisis of 2008; however HSBC reported a 3 percent increase in pretax profits for the first half of 2011. The increase exceeded forecasted expectations.
HSBC is shifting their focus by expanding in emerging markets and reducing headcount in tougher markets. A company official failed to give details on specifically where the 30,000 job cuts would be made.
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.
You may have seen the picture of the North End Harleysville Bank with a First Niagara sign in the Mercury the other day. Now they changed the sign at the East End branch as well. The signs are covered up with Harleysville banners for now, but not for long.
So who is First Niagara Bank? They are a Buffalo, NY based bank. First Niagara recently moved their headquarters into downtown Buffalo.
First Niagara is aggressively expanding. First it was western Pennsylvania where they made a foray into the Pittsburgh market. First Niagara bought 57 branches of National City Bank. National City Bank was a casualty of the subprime mortgage crisis and was forced to sell off branches by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
In July of 2009, First Niagara bought Harleysville National Bank which gives them over 80 branches in the Philadelphia region. So far, First Niagara intends to keep all existing branches open. According to the First Niagara website, with the Harleysville acquisition they will have 254 branches with $19.3 billion in assets and $13.9 billion in deposits.
So much for having a Pottstown based bank :(. First, Security National was gobbled up by Harleysville. Now Harleysville has been gobbled up by First Niagara.