PNC officials mum on future of East Liverpool branch

EAST LIVERPOOL – It appears the downtown PNC branch may be among those shuttered by the company as part of a $700 million cost-cutting move announced in March.

PNC plans to close 200 branches in 2013 on the heels of 65 closures last year.

The bank is attempting to cater more to “customers in a digital world who increasingly are banking online and via smartphones,” PNC president and new CEO William Demchak told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in responding to news of additional branch closings.

Word of the closure began circulating locally earlier this week, after tellers at the East Fifth Street bank began telling customers the facility would be closed in late summer.

East Liverpool businessman Brian Kerr, who operates PC Doctors across the street from the PNC branch and who conducts his banking there, is “confident” the branch will be closing based on information from a bank employee.

“I can’t tell you who told me, but it’s coming from the inside,” Kerr said, adding the closing would take place Aug. 9

The local branch manager would not comment on the issue, referring any questions about the possible closing to PNC corporate offices.

Marcie Zwibel, a public relations representative with PNC, declined to comment on whether or not the local bank would be closing.

In published reports, PNC did not disclose locations of the proposed closings.

Several other PNC representatives did not return messages left seeking comment on the issue.

Kerr said he was told the ATM machine behind the bank, located at Fourth and Washington streets, would remain. He also said he was told plans are to relocate some of the local employees to the nearby PNC branch on Oakmont Avenue, in Calcutta, while others may be out of a job.

“As a business owner I see it as another nail in the coffin for downtown,” Kerr said.

City leaders at both City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce had not heard of a possible closing when reached earlier in the week.

PNC has about 2,900 branches throughout the United States, and despite the announced closings, bank officials have said as many as 40 to 50 branches may open elsewhere. The bank has locations in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

There are two PNC branches in Columbiana, one in Toronto, three in the Steubenville-Wintersville area and one in Chippewa, Pa. In addition, there are several ATMs throughout the area owned by PNC.