Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Then Who?

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 18, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle (c) 2009

Dwelling House Savings ended 119 years of service last Friday, August 14, 2009, when the FDIC took it over. This morning it reopened as a branch of PNC Bank, one of the largest retail banking institutions in America. Dwelling House depositors don’t have to worry about safety and soundness — they never really did — but safety and soundness isn’t everything in life. And Dwelling House did not exist merely to be a safe place to make a deposit. It had a mission.

So now who will perform the mission of Dwelling House? Who will provide affordable loans for home ownership in the neighborhood that Dwelling House served? Will PNC Bank do it?

Thrifts grew up in response to big banks, like PNC’s predecessors, who wouldn’t lend to certain ethnic groups or in certain neighborhoods. At the turn of the 20th century, it was said that there were building and loan associations on every corner. There were associations whose members were predominantly German, Italian, Polish, Serbian, Croatian — you name it, we had them. They kept their communities alive. And we had one for African Americans, too.

When PNC acquired Dwelling House, for better or worse, it acquired its mission. So now we ask PNC this critical question: What are you doing to keep the dream of home ownership alive in the Hill District? Every Pittsburgher should ask the bank that bears this city’s name that question.

If not PNC, then who?



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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