HERMITAGE F.N.B. starts to expand center

The acquisition of another Pennsylvania bank leads to local expansion.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- F.N.B. Corp. has started construction on an expansion to its East State Street data center that will add 75 jobs.
Employment is to increase to 165 over the next three to six months. The expansion will nearly double the size of the building to 76,000 square feet.
The $4.5 million project was approved by city officials earlier this summer and is expected to be complete in December.
Steve Gurgovits, president of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, said the expansion is needed because of the bank's growth and its proposed merger with Promistar Financial Corp. First National is a subsidiary of F.N.B., which is based in Naples, Fla.
Merger: F.N.B. said in June that it was acquiring Promistar, which is based in Johnstown, Pa., and merging it into First National. The deal is awaiting approval from regulators and shareholders.
After the merger, First National would become the eighth largest bank in the state with $3.1 billion in deposits and 117 branches in 19 counties.
Clay Cone, an F.N.B. spokesman, said it hasn't been determined how many of the additional jobs in Hermitage will be new hires. It is possible some could be transferred from Promistar, where staff is to be reduced in its administrative offices, he said.
Gurgovits said the expansion is being started before the acquisition is completed because bank officials want to be ready for the integration of Promistar during the first quarter of next year.
Relocation to Florida: The expansion follows the movement of F.N.B. headquarters to Florida in March. Bank officials said no local jobs were lost because the 15-member corporate staff had been working in Florida for the past few years.
Fifty other corporate staff members remain at the former corporate headquarters in Hermitage, Cone said. The headquarters of First National also is in the building, but he wasn't sure how many of the bank's 467 workers were located there. F.N.B. built the $7.5 million office building in 1997.
F.N.B. officials said the move was mostly a legal move because it changed the incorporation of the company to Florida. They said they wanted to move the headquarters to Florida because most of the company's assets and shareholders were there.
F.N.B. has expanded in Florida in recent years by acquiring banks in high-growth areas.
F.N.B. also operates insurance agencies, a consumer finance company and a trust company. It has 156 offices in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee. It also is the parent company of Metropolitan National Bank, which is based in Youngstown.

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