30 Years: PNC eats up market share, boosts Downtown building

Part of the 30 Years, 30 Changes series on the Pittsburgh region

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Thirty years ago was a pivotal time for PNC Financial Services Group, then called Pittsburgh National Corp.

Taking advantage of a new Pennsylvania law allowing statewide banking, the Pittsburgh bank in 1983 acquired Philadelphia's Provident National Corp. to form PNC Financial, which at the time was the biggest bank merger in U.S. history.

A fixture in Pittsburgh since its founding in 1852, PNC set the stage for tremendous growth in the coming decades with its deal with Provident.

At the end of 1983, PNC ranked as the 26th largest bank in the country with assets of $12.2 billion and 17,000 employees. Today, it's No. 9, with assets of $305 billion and 56,000 employees.

For years, PNC battled neck-and-neck with another Pittsburgh stalwart, Mellon Bank, for market dominance in the Pittsburgh region. In 2002, it took control of the top spot for good when Mellon sold its branch banking operations to Citizens Bank. PNC further solidified its hold on the region with the takeover of National City Bank at the end of 2008.

Today, PNC holds a commanding 49.9 percent share of retail deposits in the seven-county Pittsburgh region.

The bank also has raised its profile in its Downtown headquarters neighborhood.

In 2000, it opened Firstside Center, the big processing center on First Avenue, and a year later erected its name atop the new Pirates baseball stadium in a 20-year, $30 million naming rights deal.

More recently, the bank in 2009 opened Three PNC Plaza at Fifth Avenue and Market Street -- the first new high-rise office building Downtown in two decades -- and is now building a 33-story world headquarters a half-block away on Wood Street called the Tower at PNC Plaza, slated to open in 2015.


Patricia Sabatini: psabatini@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3066. First Published October 12, 2013 8:00 PM


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