2012-01-12 / Front Page

Little Remains Of Former First National Bank

Five layoffs at Needmore and six in McConnellsburg loom
By Jean Snyder
STAFF WRITER


This 2008 photo of the First National Bank of McConnellsburg was taken when the announcement was made that the bank had been sold to the First National Bank of Greencastle and before the bank’s signage had been removed from the corner of Lincoln Way and Second Street. This 2008 photo of the First National Bank of McConnellsburg was taken when the announcement was made that the bank had been sold to the First National Bank of Greencastle and before the bank’s signage had been removed from the corner of Lincoln Way and Second Street. One hundred and six years after it was chartered as a locally owned, independent banking institution, not much is left of what many remember as The First National Bank of McConnellsburg. The closing of its Needmore branch bank was announced last month and last week, new owner Susquehanna Bank announced the permanent layoff of six employees at the main bank downtown and the express center at the eastern end of McConnellsburg. Layoffs will begin February 17 and continue through March 9, and the changes have left many county residents wondering what the next step will be for the banking institution.

Sold three times over the past six years, no local control remains at the bank that has its main office on Lincoln Way West in McConnellsburg. Locally controlled until January 2006, it was then sold to another once locally controlled banking institution, The First National Bank of Greencastle.

In 2009, the Greencastle bank, with its holding company Tower Bancorp, was acquired by Graystone

Bank, with the new holding company being named Graystone Tower Bancorp. Under that merger, several local bankers remained on the board of directors. The last of those directors resigned in January 2011.

In June of 2011, the acquisition of Tower Bancorp by Susquehanna Bancshares was announced. Susquehanna agreed to buy Tower for $343 million in cash and stock, at that time a 41 percent premium over Tower’s closing stock price. Under the deal, Tower shareholders were offered 3.4696 shares of Susquehanna common stock, or $28 for each Tower share they owned. In a press release issued at the time of the acquisition announcement, Susquehanna said that once the Tower deal and another deal with Jenkintown, Pa.-based Abington Bancorp were closed, the combined company would give Susquehanna a top-three marketshare position in 14 of the counties it serves. At that time, Susquehanna had $15.2 billion in assets, while Tower had $2.6 billion.

The acquisition was quickly followed by the announcement that the Needmore branch of what is now known as Susquehanna Bank will close effective February 17, 2012. That closing could affect five employees, although Susquehanna at the time of the announcement said that other employment opportunities could be available to the employees. According to a letter sent to the Needmore branch bank customers, their accounts will be transferred to the McConnellsburg office at 101 Lincoln Way West in McConnellsburg.

The Needmore branch closing was followed last week by the news of the six layoffs in the Mc- Connellsburg banks.

According to information provided to McConnellsburg Borough Council by Susquehanna, the positions of branch operations supervisor, Human Resources Administrator 2, Information Technology Analyst 1, Market Manager 2 and two Personal Banker 1 will be eliminated in the downtown and express bank offices. No employee names were given in the written announcement issued by Elizabeth E. Lytle, vice president of corporate employment at Susquehanna.

Fulton County will not be the only area affected by the bank’s acquisition. Two weeks ago, the Greencastle Echo-Pilot reported that after the acquisition has been completed, Susquehanna Bank will reduce its number of Franklin County employees by 20 people, with 16 of those occurring in the Greencastle office.

According to the story, one Tower and one Susquehanna Bank already located in Greencastle will be consolidated, but with the current Tower location in Center Square becoming the Susquehanna Bank.

Also, at the end of 2011, in southeastern Pennsylvania, Chester County’s Daily Local News reported Susquehanna Bancshares Inc., holding company of Susquehanna Bank, filed notice with the Pennsylvania Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, saying it would lay off 309 workers at 85 locations in Pennsylvania by June 30.

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