RBC Center out; PNC Arena in

jshaffer@newsobserver.comMarch 16, 2012 

— Thousands have already seen it on mortgage statements in the mailbox, but PNC Bank’s bright orange and blue logo appeared for the first time Thursday on the side of Raleigh’s Wade Avenue arena – officially replacing the old RBC lion.

Gov. Bev Perdue welcomed the Pittsburgh-based bank as PNC Arena took its place as the home of the N.C. State Wolfpack men’s basketball team and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Officials there would not disclose the value of the naming rights deal Thursday, but in the past, bank officials said they would take over RBC’s 20-year, $80 million arrangement.

“This is a big day for us,” Perdue said, adding, “This is a brand that is seen by every car on I-40.”

PNC Financial Services Group, a regional bank based in Pittsburgh, has been preparing for this day since it announced last June that it had cut a deal with Royal Bank of Canada, the corporate parent of RBC Bank, to acquire the Raleigh-based bank for $3.45 billion.

The bank anticipates hiring more than 250 employees across North Carolina over the next 12 to 18 months. All of RBC Bank’s 415 branches in six Southeastern states have converted to the PNC brand, and the RBC Plaza building in downtown Raleigh now sports PNC signs.

PNC isn’t specifying how many employees it has in North Carolina. It has disclosed to the state that it would eliminate up to 621 jobs in Raleigh and Rocky Mount, or about 40 percent of the workforce in the two cities. But it also stressed that’s a worst-case scenario and said so far it has found new jobs for nearly 100 workers whose jobs were being eliminated.

“Don’t worry about the number count of jobs right now,” Perdue said, adding, “They’ll end up having more employees than they had when they made the acquisition.”

The governor noted that PNC, which stands for Pittsburgh National Corp., already contains “NC” for North Carolina. We’ll take the extra P, she said.

Shaffer: 919-829-4818

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