Business Briefs: 5/20/14

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Pennsylvania ranks high for banking services

Pennsylvania tied for fifth place with California and Oklahoma in a new survey ranking the best and worst states for banking services. The rankings, by, were based on four criteria: quality of service, bank failure rates, competitive deposit rates and number of institutions based in each state. Missouri topped the rankings, followed by Kansas and a tie between Nebraska and Massachusetts. Nevada placed last. Also near the bottom were Arizona, Connecticut, Washington and Alaska. 

State agency warns of virtual currency risks

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities is urging consumers, businesses and investors to consider the risks if they intend to use virtual currencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin. Virtual currencies can be purchased, sold or exchanged with other types of virtual currencies or real currencies such as the U.S, dollar. But unlike the dollar, they are not backed by tangible assets or the U.S. government, the department noted. In addition, the value of virtual currencies is highly volatile and “the concepts underlying these currencies are still being debated by financial and legal experts,” the department said. For questions or to file a complaint, visit or call 1-800-722-2657.

Shareholders OK S&T compensation plan

Shareholders of Indiana, Pa.-based S&T Bank gave the nod to the company’s executive compensation plan in a nonbinding, say-on-pay advisory vote at S&T’s annual shareholders meeting Monday. Shareholders also elected all 13 director nominees to serve one-year terms on the board and approved the adoption of S&T’s 2014 incentive plan. Also at the meeting, which was available live via audio-only webcast, CEO Todd Brice told shareholders the $4.7 billion-asset bank plans to raze its Indian Springs branch at 2455 Route 286 South and replace it with a new building at the same site, which is the bank’s second-busiest location.

Grove City mall to feature Mountain Warehouse store

A U.K.-based outdoor clothing and equipment retail plans to open its first U.S. outlet store in June at Grove City Premium Outlets, according to mall owner Simon Property Group. Mountain Warehouse will join the outlet center’s new Toys R Us Express store, as well as expanded Coach and Under Armour stores. 

Alcoa, USW reach tentative OK on labor agreement

Al­coa and the United Steel­work­ers union reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment on a five-year la­bor deal cov­er­ing about 6,000 work­ers at plants in In­di­ana, Texas, Iowa, North Car­o­lina, Ten­nes­see, Wash­ing­ton, New York and Ar­kan­sas. Eleven USW lo­cals will vote over the next sev­eral weeks on the pro­posal, which USW of­fi­cials said pro­vides gains in wages and re­tire­ment se­cu­rity.

AstraZeneca rejects $119 billion offer from Pfizer

The board of AstraZeneca on Monday rejected the improved $119 billion takeover offer from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, a decision that many investors think it effectively brings an end to the protracted and increasingly bitter takeover saga. Shareholders in AstraZeneca PLC seemed to think a deal is now unlikely, with the company’s share price slumping 11.1 percent to 42.87 pounds.

From staff and wire reports 

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