Citizens Bank president pushed for workforce and industry diversity at Chamber breakfast

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NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL—Daniel Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Citizens Bank Pennsylvania, tells the African American Chamber of Commerce the bank is not only working to build the economy of the future but also the diverse workforce that will allow it to grow and prosper. (Photo by Christian Morrow)

 

Daniel Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Citizens Bank Pennsylvania, told the audience at African American Chamber of Commerce July Business Breakfast that the bank is committed to building the region’s economy, workforce and diversity.

“We’re working on the small businesses related to the growth industries. When you see a Fortune 500 firm get a huge contract—Boeing, for instance—there are 9,000 small companies building those planes,” he said. “Pittsburgh is ‘Huston North,’ and we’re here to support those providing the food, lodging, pipelines and trucking service.”

Because Citizens is actually over capitalized, its business loan business is up 20 percent when the industry as a whole is flat. They are currently offering a small business rate of 3.99 percent.

“We’re not buying $20 million in mortgage securities, we’re lending to one company at a time,” he said.
But growing businesses without investing in people is pointless. Fitzpatrick said there has to be a new workforce in the pipeline, not only for the growth industries in energy and chemicals, but in his field also.

“The head of US Steel, John Surma told me diversity is no better now (in the financial sector) than it was in 1975 when he got his first job with Price Waterhouse,” he said.  “So, in Philadelphia, we developed a work-ready program for high school sophomores and juniors to get business internships. We need more diversity among commercial lenders.”

By partnering with Community College of Allegheny County on job training programs, Citizens is not overlooking the paucity of high paying trades skills either.

“The lower cost of energy has revived local manufacturing also,” he said. “The average age of a welder in Pennsylvania is 58. Their average income is $110,000 a year. The average number of welders in the tr
aining pipeline—zero.”
The internship program piloted in Philadelphia has also been initiated in Pittsburgh through the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board. Last year, Citizens employed 10 summer interns from local high schools.

Chamber President and CEO Doris Carson Williams thanked Fitzpatrick and the bank, which is a chamber member. She also introduced three new members, and urged the membership to ask Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Maurita Bryant, who was also present, how they can assist with the upcoming National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives convention.

Williams also previewed several events scheduled for September, including a workshop on the legal and financial implications of the Affordable Healthcare Act, a members mixer with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and a PowerBreakfast meeting featuring Green Building Alliance CEO Mike Schiller.

(Send comments to cmorrow@new­pittsburgh­courier.com.)

 

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