PNC to lay off 600 in NC after RBC merger
Posted January 6, 2012
Rocky Mount, N.C. — More than 600 RBC Bank employees in North Carolina will lose their jobs following the bank's takeover by PNC Financial Services Group, according to a notice filed Friday with the state Department of Commerce.
PNC (NYSE: PNC) said in the notice that 425 jobs in Rocky Mount and 196 in Raleigh would be eliminated once its $3.45 billion acquisition of Raleigh-based RBC is complete in March. The layoffs will begin March 16.
The company was required to provide 60 days' notice of significant layoffs or closings under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
"PNC also intends to create a significant number of new jobs in North Carolina as a result of this integration," James Popp, PNC senior vice president for human resources, wrote in the notice. "The largest portion of these jobs will be filled in Rocky Mount and Raleigh, though there will also be a number of other opportunities across the state. It is our hope to redeploy displaced RBC employees to many of these opportunities."
RBC employs about 2,600 people in North Carolina, including about 1,000 in Rocky Mount and 500 in Raleigh.
PNC officials began meeting Wednesday with employees in Raleigh and Rocky Mount to notify them of pending layoffs.
An operations center on North Church Street in Rocky Mount will bear the brunt of the layoffs, with 319 positions eliminated. At RBC's headquarters tower in downtown Raleigh, 107 people will be laid off. The layoffs cover a range of back-office functions, from credit officers to systems analysts to software engineers.
The layoffs are the latest economic blow to Rocky Mount, which has the highest unemployment rate of any North Carolina metro area, at 12.7 percent in November.
Once dubbed the City on the Rise, many residents now refer to Rocky Mount as "the City on the Decline."
"I have a lot of friends who have lost their jobs," resident Tammy Turner said.
Some local leaders expressed concern that the situation could get worse before it gets better.
Sears recently announced it would close its Rocky Mount store by summer, and Old Navy will close as well. Torpedo Specialty Wire laid off 17 employees this week, almost one-third of its local workforce.
City Councilman Andre Knight said he has heard that the U.S. Postal Service plans to move a distribution operation from Rocky Mount to Raleigh.
"It's pretty devastating on our community," Knight said of the business closings.
Standing in front of a defunct textile mill, he points to former cotton and tobacco operations nearby. "It's like big dinosaurs that are left here – empty buildings," he said.
Rocky Mount is trying to reinvent itself, Knight said, but it needs help because the decay has gone on for so long.
"They bailed out Wall Street, but what about our back streets and our front streets?" he said.
Longtime residents said they aren't giving up hope of better days ahead.
"I keep (a turnaround) in prayer, and I'm hopeful because I live here," resident Wendy Tinsley said.