CLAIRTON (KDKA) — Clairton may be a “Third Class City,” but the Clairton “Bears” football team is class A all the way.
That winning attitude was major boost for this long distressed community, but these people are about to take another hit — the loss of the only bank left in town.
The PNC Bank on Miller Avenue is set to close in August.
Customer accounts will be transferred to the Elizabeth Branch.
“They closed that one – now they’re gonna close this one. What are people gonna do?” bank customer Corin Riley said.
Changes in the steel industry saw the population here fall from 19,000 to 6,000 — 35 percent are senior citizens with social security checks to cash.
“Yes, it’s gonna be hard for people who don’t have a car,” says bank customer Mildren Reed.
There used to be a sign over the PNC Bank door vowing, “We will never leave.”
Now, a collective of community and church leaders are looking for a way to convince PNC to keep their branch open — or to find a new bank to community.
“And this affects the growth that we need in order to continue that we’ve had all of our lives,” says Community and Economic Development Corp. President Cheryl Hurt.
One man described Clairton’s once bustling commercial area as being “reduced to pizza shops and dollar stores.”
“I just don’t understand why in talking to the bank, we wanted to bring our community together to talk. Why they wouldn’t meet with us,” says Clairton City Councilman Richard Ford.
Adds Chuck Lanna, Business Manager for the Clairton City School District, “And community banking doesn’t mean you only do it in the communities where you make a whole lot of money.”
A PNC spokesperson says once the bank closes there will be a drive-through ATM opened at the municipal building and another ATM at the Livingston Pharmacy.
But ATMs don’t make loans or arrange mortgages.
A town meeting will be held next Thursday.
“We’re here to fight to the very end,” Hurt said.