BB&T leaving Lititz, cutting 82 jobs

By on October 4, 2017

BB&T’s two Lititz branch offices will remain in operation.

BB&T, which bought Susquehanna Bank two years ago, is leaving its North Cedar Street facility. An unnamed buyer of the property is currently under contract.

 

 

 

 

 

BB&T’s corporate presence in downtown Lititz was short-lived.

The North Carolina-based bank is closing shop at the renovated mill building that currently houses a call center and processing services operation.

“After careful consideration, we’ve made the decision to close our facility at 26 N. Cedar St. in Lititz,” David White, BB&T vice president of corporate communications wrote Tuesday in an email. “This will affect approximately 82 positions related to the staffing of our call center and processing services operations there.”

BB&T’s $2.5 billion purchase of Susquehanna Bank, which was founded in Lititz in 1901, was initiated in November 2014 and finalized in August 2015. Two years ago, BB&T said job cuts were imminent, but it pledged to retain Susquehanna’s campus in Lititz and “continue to operate a customer service center and other operations there.”

About 500 former Susquehanna employees worked in Lititz in September 2015, prior to the initial cuts to BB&T’s 900-employee workforce in Lancaster County. When this latest round of cuts goes into effect in December, BB&T’s county workforce will be down to about 350 employees.

Lititz Borough Council President Karen Weibel said she is very sympathetic to the workers losing jobs.

“We’re always concerned when we hear of job shifts,” she said. “Undoubtedly, some of the affected employees live here in the borough. Employment upheaval is difficult enough, but especially so when it falls around the year-end holidays.”

BB&T, which bought Susquehanna Bank two years ago, is leaving its North Cedar Street facility. An unnamed buyer of the property is currently under contract.

“A Great Opportunity” for downtown Lititz

A yet-unnamed buyer is in position to take over the facility that was intended to be a mall when it was renovated in the 1980s, but the future use of the former paper mill remains a guarded secret for now.

“While it’s too early to share details, we’re pleased to say that a buyer is under contract for our non-branch Lititz building located at 26 N. Cedar St.,” White noted. “And we’re hopeful that the next tenant for this facility will create a positive economic outcome for the downtown Lititz area. BB&T remains committed to the Lititz community.”

Elijah Yearick, Lititz Borough director of planning and community development, said the news of the closure is not surprising and may provide greater opportunity for Lititz.

“While BB&T’s announcement is news to us, it is not unexpected. BB&T has been reducing its workforce in the borough since purchasing Susquehanna and we’ve been planning accordingly,” he said. “While we hope that the impacted employees can find new opportunities in our community, we believe that the sale is a great opportunity to breathe new life into the mill building and the Lititz Run corridor.”

Weibel noted that BB&T never really fit into the banking operation carved out by Susquehanna.

“BB&T was not successful in fully utilizing its real estate assets located in the borough, so we understand their actions,” she said. “We look forward to the new opportunities this change creates for the borough and its residents.”

NAI Commercial Partners is the listing agent for the property.

BB&T also owns two adjacent buildings along North Lane, and the historic General Sutter home on East Main Street, as well as parking lots on Cedar and Water streets. The future of these properties has not been clarified. However, BB&T’s two Lititz branch offices will remain in operation.

White said BB&T will help laid-off employees find other opportunities inside and outside BB&T, as well as provide ample notice and severance packages.

“We understand this is a difficult time for these associates, and we will support them through this transition with respect and compassion,” White said.

There are approximately 45 positions that provide support to other BB&T areas.

“These positions are not affected and will move to another BB&T location in Lancaster County,” White said. “We will continue to operate our two Lititz branch locations and serve our clients with the same high level of service they’ve come to expect and deserve from BB&T.”

Lisa Riggs of the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County said it was obvious that BB&T was downsizing significantly since taking over Susquehanna’s former Lititz headquarters, and it’s a positive sign that a new owner is under contract.

“It speaks to the strength of the Lititz marketplace that a natural transition is already underway,” she said. “Everyone in the community wants to make sure economic activity continues and it shows that Lititz is not only a place where people want to live and visit, but it’s also a desirable place to do business.”

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

 

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