PNC CEO will roar into Raleigh to reassure RBC workers, others

Posted June 20, 2011

— James Rohr, chairman and chief executive of PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), plans to bring a great deal of enthusiasm and assurances about most jobs when he travels to Raleigh on Friday to meet with employees at RBC Bank.

“We need all customer-facing people,” Rohr (pronounced “roar”) said Monday after announcing PNC's $3.45 billion purchase of RBC.

“There is no overlap between our operations in North Carolina. Secondly, we don’t have an operations center in that area, so we need the operations center in Rocky Mount,” he said.

Having met recently with some RBC employees during due diligence ahead of the acquisition announcement, Rohr made clear he was impressed.

“That is one fine group of people,” he said, calling RBC a “wonderful franchise” and noting that the exuberance he displayed in a conference call with the media and financial analysts Monday morning reflected his personal excitement about the deal.

In buying RBC, PNC will gain the massive RBC tower in downtown Raleigh as well as naming rights to RBC Center, which hosts Carolina Hurricanes hockey games, North Carolina State University basketball games and other entertainment and sporting events.

“Those are impressive properties,” Rohr said, adding that PNC is committed to both.

Although Rohr said “some jobs will go away,” he said he has "no idea” as to the extent of any job cuts.

RBC Bank employs about 500 people in Raleigh, another 1,000 at the Rocky Mount center and 2,600 people statewide, according to Chief Executive Jim Westlake.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker wasn't enthusiastic about the deal, which comes only a few months after Raleigh-based Progress Energy reached a deal to merge with Duke Energy, likely resulting in its headquarters moving to Charlotte.

"We don't have that many corporate headquarters here, so it is a big deal to us," Meeker said.

Headquarters operations not only mean executive jobs, they also lend prestige to a city and are usually a focal point for charitable support.

RBC Plaza Loss of another corporate headquarters worrisome for Raleigh

Downtown businesses also could feel the effect of the Progress Energy and RBC mergers if employment in the central business district drops.

"In a small business, if you get 20 (fewer) people a day, that's a lot, and it makes a big difference," said Floye Dombalis, owner of Mecca Restaurant.

Rohr stressed that PNC could very well add jobs once the deal closes early next year because his bank will offer services that RBC did not, such as more online banking and a greater emphasis on business accounts. PNC won’t transfer people from its existing staff into Raleigh and across the Southeast to fill RBC positions, he said.

PNC also will remain active in the community, Rohr said, noting that the bank has a program that pays employees up to 40 hours a year to volunteer in early childhood centers.

PNC will name a president to oversee its Raleigh operations, but Rohr said he doesn’t envision Raleigh serving as a hub for the bank.

“We are in 31 markets, and each has a president,” he said. “They report to two executives in our organization. We want them to have impact.”

Although PNC executives talked about how the acquisition would lead to as much as $340 million in savings, Rohr said he’s coming to Raleigh to talk about the need to keep RBC employees and facilities.

“I want to spend time with the Raleigh employees and answer their questions as best I can,” he said.

Rohr is a near-40 year veteran at PNC, having joined the firm in 1972. He took over as CEO in May 2000 and as chairman a year later. In 2007, he received the American Bankers Association’s “Banker of the Year” award.

The RBC deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions that will make PNC the nation’s fifth-largest bank. It currently ranks 12th.

The top five banks currently are: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs.


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  • luckywoman4183 Jun 22, 2011

    Oh and FYI ....RBC was Centura before they where bought which was started as a local bank in Rocky Mount and was headquarted in Rocky Mount

  • luckywoman4183 Jun 22, 2011

    Why would they want an office in Rocky Mount? I try to avoid RM when ever possible. Only thing I can think of is cheap land, labor, and maybe some tax breaks from city goverment.

    Do not think that your are better than people who live and work in Rocky Mount. RBC employees people in Rocky Mount who own houses and pay their bills. Not everyone who lives here is a deadbeat like you would want everyone to think. BTW we still have an airport and its open everyday. Companies like McLane and MBM use the airport.

  • jcjinnc Jun 21, 2011

    I just hope a reporter will record this announcement and play it back in 6 months when the layoffs start!!!!!!!! cantbtaught

    I've been through many of these things before and have been one of the fortunate ones that never lost their job. Sure, layoffs are imminent...but considering the deal won't be finalized for almost 9 months, I wouldn't expect the layoffs to begin in 6!

  • same ole story Jun 21, 2011

    The only thing the CEO is going to say is that "All your jobs are safe and the transition will be smooth" Then once the sale has settled down a massive amount of layoffs are coming. If anybody in this day and age think that this merger is for the employees then I have some non-dry land in Florida to sell you!!! They need the workers to show the new company what they are doing then its out the door with you!!!! I just hope a reporter will record this announcement and play it back in 6 months when the layoffs start!!!!!!!! NOW THAT WOULD BE SOME REPORTING AND NOT JUST THE REPHRASING FROM THE AP WIRE WRAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Daria Jun 20, 2011

    I am glad the bank is going back into US hands. I started with them when they were locally owned and the customer service was always great. The only issue was that they did not like to expand online account management to people who had a credit card but no back account with them. When they were purchased by RBC, you suddenly were working with Canadians who knew little about US laws regarding credit cards. They actually once told me that because the bank was Canadian my accounts were under their laws. I finally got in touch with someone in Rocky Mount who helped educate them.

  • IceCreamMan Jun 20, 2011

    Small yet important tidbit - Highwoods Properties owns the RBC Plaza, so PNC will not be buying that building. This likely means that PNC could easily pull all the way out of that building to cut costs (and maybe move those jobs to Rocky Mount for even larger savings).

  • sonoluminescence Jun 20, 2011

    I don't know what products RBC offers that the average customer could use and recently they are having trouble swindling the average customer with fees b/c a bad economy makes everyone a little wiser. If you work for RBC, I feel bad for you son. I've got many problems, but this bank ain't one.

    I urge everyone to move their accounts to a local credit union or local bank and help those employed by RBC to find another job. And shame on WRAL for publishing this press-release and calling it news.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 20, 2011

    While Meeker rolls out his usual, "we'll be ok" speech. Yep, more job loses coming for the great Veto Bev state.

  • PeelAway1 Jun 20, 2011

    timflowers: ditto.


  • gopowell Jun 20, 2011

    Progress Energy bought by Duke Energy in Charlotte. RBC Centura bought by PNC of Pittsburgh. Downtown Raleigh is losing out on it's biggest business properties. Pretty soon Absolute Collections and McLaurin Parking will be the 2 biggest companies downtown. Come on triangle business leaders..... :(