Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some Notes on Banks

As part of the annual Jan. 1 reorganization, the City Council names official newspapers, sets its calendar and designates bank depositories for the year, among many other routine actions.

For 2009, the roster of depositories includes PNC Bank, Bank of America, City National Bank, Investors Savings Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Commerce Bank and New Jersey State Cash Management. Plaintalker does not have verbatim notes on a brief discussion that took place about the banks, but someone was recalling the years when United National Bank handled the city payroll and I believe someone asked about City National Bank. What follows is an anecdotal commentary on some of the bank history.

United National Bank, now PNC, had its headquarters in Plainfield before relocating to Bridgewater. As United National Bancorp, it was acquired by PNC Bank in 2004. UNB had been truly a hometown bank and its officers took part in many community activities. It used to have a branch on Arlington Avenue, where lots of city and school district employees could be encountered on paydays. The city now uses Paychex Inc. for payroll services. This is a Rochester, N.Y. company founded by billionaire Tom Golisano. Some may recall that Sen. Frank Lautenberg made his fortune as CEO of ADP, another payroll company.

City National Bank of Newark got on the list in the 1980s, when there was a notion that it would open a branch on Financial Plaza at Park and Front. An official of the bank lived in Plainfield and there was great support for it as a bank founded by African-Americans. Click here for its history.

Financial Plaza was once a hub for several banks, but most are gone now. The PNC Bank building is owned by the real estate arm of the company and is targeted for development. Investors Savings is also in the path of a redevelopment plan, but local merchants are challenging the plan that would put a six-story parking deck where Municipal Lot 6 now stands on East Second Street, behind the Front Street stores between Park and Watchung.

A March bank merger changed Commerce Bank to TD Commerce Bank, or TD Bank.

The New Jersey State Cash Management Fund is a part of the state Department of the Treasury. For more information, click here.

The school board also names depositories every year at its reorganization meeting. In 2006, only two banks, PNC Bank and City National Bank, were named. In 2007 the list expanded to include Bank of America and the listing for 2008 had one additional name, National Valley Bank of Plainfield, which may be a misnomer for Valley National Bank of North Plainfield.

Between the city and the school district, there is a lot of money to be taken care of. Even though the naming of depositories is considered a routine matter, the public might be interested sometime in hearing a brief explanation or rationale for the choices.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Affirmative Action was considered a vital part of the bank designation in the 70 - 80's. Not so now? Maybe because it WORKED and banks are more intergrated.

9:00 AM  

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