A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Downtown’s newest skyscraper has reached a milestone.
Scores of construction workers, with their hard hats on and cell phones recording the moment, watched from the ground today as the last steel beam for PNC Financial Services Group’s 33-story Tower at PNC Plaza was put into place.
The beam featured the signatures of many of the iron workers, carpenters and other tradesmen who have been working on the $400 million building, billed as the world’s greenest skyrise. Others signing the beam included officials with PNC, which intends to make the glass high-rise its new global headquarters.
Locator map with the Central Business District neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a $400 million project to build PNC Financial Services Group’s new corporate headquarters nears the midpoint, surrounding business owners are anxiously awaiting completion of Downtown’s biggest skyscraper in more than a quarter-century.
Some look forward to an anticipated boost in business. Others long for their misery to end.
“It’s tough to complain about progress, but this project has definitely been a struggle for us,” said Rob Kania, owner of Metropolitan Preschool & Nursery, which runs a Fifth Avenue facility in the shadow of the project.
Most agree The Tower at PNC Plaza will become a jewel in the city’s skyline. PNC hopes it will be the world’s most environmentally friendly office building.
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.
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.”
PNC Bank will close 10 more branches in the region within the next 90 days as part of an effort to cut costs and focus on serving customers who increasingly are banking online and via smartphones.
The closures, which include the last remaining bank branch in the city of Clairton, come on top of four other branches shuttered earlier in the year.
Spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel declined to say how many more branches in the region might be closed this year, saying decisions beyond 90 days may not be final.
Pittsburgh‘s biggest bank has said it planned to close about 200 branches this year across its footprint in 19 states and Washington, D.C., which is about 7 percent of its network of roughly 2,900 offices. The bank closed 65 branches last year.
Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Pittsburgh regional economy, which snapped back from the recession early but stalled in 2012, is poised to head higher again this year, according to forecasters at PNC Financial Services Group.
A reviving national economy will provide the oomph needed to reignite growth locally, PNC economist Kurt Rankin said in an interview.
The Pittsburgh region experienced above average growth in the first two years of the economic recovery in 2010 and 2011, but hit a lull the middle of last year.
Pittsburghers were more willing to spend coming out of the recession than consumers in many other regions because the local economy did not fall as far, but that willingness has been fully tapped, Mr. Rankin said.
Many people are familiar with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas“. Each year somebody figures out how much it would actually cost to give all these gifts. This year is no exception thanks to PNC Financial Services and PNC Wealth Management.
This year’s high ticket item – seven swans-a-swimming. It would set you back $6,300! That is a 12.5 percent increase over last year. The eight maids-a-milking would only set you back $58 because we are in a recession and they only get minimum wage, evidently. The partridge, sans pear tree, would only set you back $15.
If you buy your gifts online, it would cost 16.1 percent more than schlepping to the store yourself. Don’t forget that ordering online would include shipping live birds!
If you only bought one set of each item it would cost you $24,000 in stores and $39,860 online. The $101,119 price tag would be if you purchased all 364 items or 12 sets of everything (one set for each verse). That’s a LOT of repetition 🙂