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What customers, employees say: For most, it's just a bankbook issue

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

By Stephanie Franken, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Employees and customers of Mellon Financial Corp. didn't get terribly sentimental yesterday when they learned that the Pittsburgh institution had sold its consumer and small business divisions.

Most of them just wondered how the sale would affect their pocketbooks.

While some expected life at the bank would continue as usual, others wondered if the new owner -- Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial Group -- would bring different ways of working with customers or less-generous perks for Mellon's employees.

"I'm curious about how it's going to affect the common person," said Bill Baumbach of Ross, whose banking accounts are with Mellon.

"Time will tell," said Chuck Whitford of Cranberry, a 25-year Mellon Bank customer.

Baumbach wondered if Citizens might raise interest rates on Mellon customers' loans to help finance its purchase. "I have a home equity loan with Mellon," said Joan Porac of Emsworth, "and I hope nothing changes."

For Mellon employees, concerns about the sale were a bit different.

Craig Anthony of Mellon's accounting division said he wasn't nervous about losing his job, but he was worried that his employee benefits -- primarily, free checking -- would change. "As long as my checking account stays free, I'll be happy," he said.

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