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Why National Penn is Banking on Center-City Allentown

By LVEDC Staff on November 5, 2013

If downtown Allentown’s revitalization proves anything it’s that the city is not blinded by the old fears.

Whatever you may think about the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the fact is this NIZ is changing the frontier of a city that some had left for dead. It has the potential to profoundly change Allentown’s course for generations to come.

Leading that development charge has been City Center Lehigh Valley, under the direction of J.B. Reilly. While that company’s vision for downtown revitalization has been well documented, the process hasn’t been done without help. Last year’s announcement that National Penn Bank would be relocating its headquarters from its long-held home in Boyertown to its new offices at Two City Center located on 645 Hamilton St. was significant not only for downtown’s future, but also for the company’s future.

“This was not a decision we took lightly,” Scott Fainor, president and CEO of National Penn Bank, told a gathering of Allentown Rotarians on November 1 at the Allentown Holiday Inn Center City.

When you listen to Fainor speak about Nat Penn two things almost immediately come to mind. One is that the company’s mission statement is clear.

“We want to be the most highly-regarded financial institution within the markets we serve,” he told the lunch crowd. “It’s that simple.”

Simple to say, but hard to do. He then explained how he plans to get this done.

“National Penn has to stay focused on relationships, on its true commitment to commercial and consumer banking and the ability to make change not only with customers but as lenders to add value to the community,” he said.

Everything we do, he added, “should be outstanding in nature.”

And the second thing Fainor made it clear that if you’re going to be “outstanding in nature” it is imperative that you surround yourself with likeminded individuals. One such person, in Fainor’s estimation, is Reilly. Fainor praised the developer several times for his commitment to quality, his vision and his expertise in the development field.

Fainor also provided the Rotarians with a forecast of the financial landscape for the coming year. Fainor noted he is an eternal optimist although he believes 2014 will be a mixed bag – “one of those slow down, slow economic growth years.”

Either way, Fainor noted, Nat Penn will adjust to whatever the market is and press forward, with their view of the City of Allentown just a glance away.

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