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PNC continues plan to expand in the South
[February 05, 2013]

PNC continues plan to expand in the South

Feb 05, 2013 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- PNC Financial Services employees have spent this week unpacking boxes at the Piedmont Town Center near SouthPark in offices that now occupy three floors -- a physical representation of the growth the Pittsburgh bank is planning for its new Southern markets.

The conversion of signs and systems has been completed in the year since the bank took over RBC Bank's Raleigh-based U.S. business in March. PNC is now focusing on selling its product line and winning business from its larger peers in Charlotte and the Carolinas, PNC president Bill Demchak said Tuesday in an interview with the Observer.

Demchak acknowledged the challenges of competing with market leaders like Bank of America and Wells Fargo in a city where the two giants employ tens of thousands. PNC currently ranks No. 8 in deposits in the Charlotte area, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. But Demchak said experience with acquisitions in the past has shown that the market can become a successful one for the bank.

"We're the newcomer, and we're the underdog. But these are the same guys that we compete with in multiple other markets," Demchak said. "They're good competitors, but so are we." PNC has a broader product line and serves more types of customers than its predecessor RBC did, Demchak said. Should the Pittsburgh bank build out market penetration to the same degree as it has done in its existing markets, the South will double PNC's sales, he said.

The bank's main focus will be on fee-generating businesses like treasury management rather than strictly commercial loans, Demchak said, since credit is more of a commodity product.

Part of the bank's strategy in the South is to hire enough bankers to serve the commercial client base it expects to have years in the future. That makes the markets less profitable now, Demchak said, but shortens the growth process.

"If you think about what we're trying to do here, we are not going to be, certainly in the near term, a dominant retail player given our branch network. But we can have a material impact," Demchak said. "Sometime down the road we want to be a meaningful player in Charlotte. ... Success is showing progress on that goal every year." Dunn: 704-358-5235 Twitter: @andrew_dunn ___ (c)2013 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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