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As PNC celebrates one decade in North Carolina, Regional Presidents Weston Andress and Jim Hansen reflect on the bank’s local growth, community impact and future.
How it started
When Weston Andress was named PNC regional president for Western Carolinas shortly after PNC’s 2012 acquisition of RBC Bank (USA), he grew accustomed to people asking what the letters P-N-C stood for. “I remember telling anyone who would listen that PNC was perfect for North Carolina,” he says. “What was most important for me to convey, particularly in a competitive banking environment, was how PNC offers the capabilities of one of the nation’s largest banks, together with a local delivery model that allows us to build meaningful relationships with our customers and provide personalized solutions.”
How it’s going
These days, the questions Andress fields are more substantive in nature, given PNC’s extensive work in the Corporate & Institutional Banking space, the local buildout of PNC Private BankSM, PNC’s digital innovations and investments in technology, and its local philanthropic and charitable endeavors. What hasn’t changed during a decade that saw an acceleration in digital transformation within the financial services industry and unprecedented disruption in the global economy is the Main Street bank philosophy that drives PNC’s business strategy and corporate philanthropy locally, and to which Andress credits the company’s success in N.C.
Facilitating business growth
PNC’s decade-long expansion in North Carolina has mirrored the state’s growing population, influence and business landscape. Since PNC formalized its local presence, the state’s population has grown by nearly 1 million people, N.C. businesses have led the nation in innovation with 70% patent growth and the state has consistently ranked among the best for doing business, among other milestones and superlatives. “As one of the region’s largest banks, we have played a major role in facilitating this growth – and we are a beneficiary of it,” says Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas.
When a once-in-a-century pandemic threatened the future of local companies, PNC registered nearly 4,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans, totaling almost $900 million, in the Carolinas. Hansen considers this achievement among the most monumental during PNC’s local tenure. “As I reflect on the events of the past 10 years, this period stands out as the most consequential for businesses that are the lifeblood of the local economy, which means it was also consequential for PNC,” he says. “There was so much uncertainty, and the stakes were high. Each loan translated to the preservation of local jobs and livelihoods. The resilience we’ve seen since then has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
While the acquisition of RBC Bank (USA) afforded PNC’s entry to North Carolina, it did not deliver a local asset management and private banking book of business. PNC leaned on its decades of experience in wealth management to steadily and intentionally assemble a highly credentialed local team of investment and wealth strategists, building the business locally from scratch. Today, the local footprint of PNC’s Asset Management Group, including PNC Private BankSM and PNC Institutional Asset Management, continues to grow and thrive.
Investing in the future
Since entering the market, PNC consistently has advocated for high-quality early childhood education through PNC Grow Up Great, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for future success in school and life. This support comes to life locally through grant funding from the PNC Foundation and employee volunteerism. “Investments in high-quality early childhood education and school readiness initiatives are significant and long-lasting, impacting the health of the local economy for generations,” says Andress. “We are leveraging our influence with the business community, policymakers and other key influencers to elevate visibility to the importance of expanding access to NC Pre-K.”
Beyond the scope of its signature philanthropic cause of early childhood education, PNC has collaborated extensively with community-based nonprofit organizations and institutions to fuel the growth of local communities through economic development initiatives. Earlier this year, for example, the company launched the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative to help cultivate entrepreneurship resources and opportunities for students at five universities through $2 million in grant funding.
A model for continued momentum
In 2021, PNC continued its growth journey with the acquisition of BBVA USA, a transaction that was reminiscent of the RBC acquisition that brought PNC to the Carolinas – albeit on a larger scale. “The success of PNC’s expansion in the Southeast following the RBC acquisition provided a precedent for growth and the confidence to further expand the company’s scale and scope,” says Hansen. “We’re excited about what our coast-to-coast footprint means for our customers and our business. As North Carolina continues to attract businesses from outside the state, and as N.C.-based companies move into markets elsewhere, PNC will be well positioned to support them.”