SOURCE: SourceMedia

October 18, 2007 06:00 ET

American Banker to Honor James Rohr of PNC Financial With 2007 Banker of the Year Award

Pittsburgh Banking Company Has Stayed Aggressive, Turned Adversity Into Strength

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 18, 2007) - James E. Rohr, the chairman and chief executive officer of PNC Financial Services Group, has been named American Banker's Banker of the Year for 2007.

Rohr -- who will receive the award at the Best in Banking dinner and ceremony on November 29 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City -- is being honored for setting PNC on an aggressive course, expanding at a time when many of its rivals are playing it safe.

The award acknowledges PNC's effective leveraging of painful lessons it learned during a run-in with regulators earlier this decade. After beefing up management and improving the company's risk-management systems, Rohr drove a hard bargain for Riggs National Bank, which moved PNC into the profitable Washington, D.C. market. PNC got high marks for the integration, which included cleaning up Riggs's own regulatory problems, and then announced two more deals this past summer, both also for troubled banks (New Jersey's Yardville National Bank and Pennsylvania's Sterling Financial Corp.).

PNC's recent run of deals has not been limited to troubled institutions. The company bought the highly respected Mercantile Bankshares Corp. of Baltimore in March 2007, adding 500,000 consumer accounts in Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The conversion of 231 Mercantile affiliate branches to PNC Bank in September 2007 made PNC one of the largest bank branch systems in Maryland.

"Jim Rohr's Banker of the Year Award is for aggressive management at a time when most are retrenching, but it's also a 'comeback' award," said David Longobardi, editor in chief of American Banker. "The company's reputation has only grown since 2001, due in no small measure to Rohr's leadership."

PNC funded its acquisitions in part by paring down its investment in BlackRock. PNC bought the asset manager for $240 million in 1995, and recorded a $1.3 billion gain when it merged with Merrill Lynch's asset management business. PNC retained a 34% stake in the combined company, which continues to buoy PNC's fee income.

The company reported first half 2007 earnings of $882M, up 20% over same period last year. Loans and deposits were up 27% and 25% respectively in the second quarter of this year vs. the same period last year. And its credit quality has remained solid.

Rohr, who became chairman of the now $126 billion-asset PNC in 2001, also led the company in executing its "One PNC" program, which reduced expenses by $300 million and boosted revenue growth by $100 million.

Rohr's award will be among six bestowed on industry leaders at this year's Banker of The Year Awards gala. The others include the Community Banker of the Year, Innovator Award, and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Award honorees are selected by the editors of American Banker in an independent and journalistic process.

Since the inaugural Banker of the Year Awards dinner and ceremony in 2001, the gala has become the industry's premier event, attracting a "who's who" of lawmakers, regulators and leading executives.

To accompany the awards gala, a special report, "Best in Banking 2007," showcasing the year's most important stories and trends, will be published in the November 29 edition of American Banker.

For information on attending or sponsoring the 2007 Banker of the Year Awards gala, please contact Jessica Yazujian at 212-803-6597.

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